Former White House adviser Steve Bannon, who faced the chance of being found in contempt of Congress if he did not appear, went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to answer questions from the House intelligence committee.
In the closed door session — in which no media were allowed — Bannon was called in to answer questions as part of a probe into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. He had not shown up several times, as Congress and the White House could not agree on terms. But both Republicans and Democrats subpoenaed him last month, so he faced stiff punishment if he failed to show this time.
“At issue is whether Bannon can talk about the presidential transition, his time at the White House and communications with President Donald Trump since he left last summer,” the Associated Press reported. “The White House has tried to put limits on what Bannon will say, with Democrats saying two weeks ago that the committee was told Bannon would only answer 14 ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. That wasn’t enough for either party, with Republicans maintaining the subpoena and threatening to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress.”
The final terms of Thursday’s interview are unclear. Walking past the cameras, Bannon declined to say whether he would answer all of the committee’s questions. He’s expected to face questions about key events during his time in the White House, including Trump’s firings of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey.
Bannon is one of the committee’s few remaining witnesses in its Russia probe, which Republicans on the panel have said they want to wrap up early this year.
The Senate intelligence committee is running a separate investigation into the Russian meddling. The Senate panel hasn’t yet spoken to Bannon, according to a source familiar with the probe. The person declined to be named because the interview schedule isn’t public.