Steve Bannon wasn’t content with a mere Robert Mueller grand jury subpoena, so he added another to his collection. The House Intelligence Committee questioned the former White House chief strategist on Tuesday for ten hours and still came up short because Bannon decided to be uncooperative. CNN reports word from the House panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, who alleges that that White House had told Bannon “not to respond to certain topics,” which may or may not involve Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
Schiff told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Bannon declined to answer a “very broad set of questions,” a move that Schiff described as “unprecedented in all the interviews that we have done.” Further, Schiff asserts that Bannon — who cited “executive privilege” with regard to all post-election matters — was instructed not to cooperate even after the House’s subpoena:
The California Democrat said the attorney for Bannon consulted with the White House after the committee subpoena was served Tuesday and was told his client was still not to answer questions regarding the time during the transition and in the White House.
Schiff called it a “gag order,” saying it was an “audacious” move by the White House to assert that at a later date they may seek to invoke executive privilege.
What on earth is Steve Bannon doing? He’s essentially been declared persona non grata by the Trump administration and his rabid right-wing fanbase, and he has every reason to cooperate with Congress and the Justice Department. Yet he appears to be remaining loyal to the White House, even after Trump said he “lost his mind” for accusing Don Jr. of “treason” over his Trump Tower meeting with Russians.
By not cooperating with the House, Bannon is also signaling that he may not answer the important questions for Robert Mueller’s grand jury either. That would be an unexpected development after Bannon has essentially lost everything of importance, including his Breitbart job and the freedom of not being referred to as “Sloppy Steve.” Yet perhaps Bannon isn’t looking to negotiate with Mueller over potential charges? It’s puzzling, but if Bannon knows how to do anything, it’s how to captivate an audience. This isn’t over!