Stephen Bannon agrees to talk with prosecutors working on Mueller's Russian Federation probe

Donald Trump

"This was effectively a gag order by the White House preventing this witness from answering nearly any question concerning his time in the transition or the administration and many questions even after he left the administration", said Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.

At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the questions were relayed over the phone and said it was a typical process. Burck is also representing McGahn in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Committee aides were not immediately available to comment.

"I'm glad to say that members of both parties pushed back hard against this unprecedented claim - what looks a lot like a gag order", Himes added.

The person familiar with the matter said that the committee had asked Bannon to return today, but that he had not yet agreed to that date. "But we're also going to maintain some of the executive privileges here at the White House".

Then, hours into Bannon's closed door testimony, Bannon's lawyers informed the White House from Capitol Hill that the questions would extend beyond the scope of what the White House understood the agreement to be.

President Donald Trump's White House is relying on a sweeping interpretation of executive privilege that is rankling members of Congress on both sides of the aisle as current and former advisers parade to Capitol Hill for questioning about possible connections with Russian Federation.

BSF man killed in cross border firing in RS Pura
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Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the committee's top Democrat, said Bannon's refusal to answer questions from the panel "can't stand" and went far beyond other witnesses who have declined to answer specific questions.

"He can say whatever the hell he wants to say to him about whatever topic that he wants", a source familiar with Bannon's thinking told Axios. The goal of the cooperation, from the White House perspective, has been to help the investigation conclude as quickly as possible.

But Bannon refused to answer questions about that crucial period, and as a result, the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., issued the subpoena, spokesman Jack Langer said. "And no effort to hide behind a later potential invocation of privilege by the executive", Schiff said.

The decision comes after Bannon was subpoenaed last week by Mueller.

Conaway and Schiff instructed Bannon to be prepared by Thursday "to answer all questions for which there has been no claim of privilege asserted" and to "work with the White House to expeditiously clarify the precise scope of any executive privilege claims the president may wish to invoke", according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. Communications director Hope Hicks and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski are expected to testify this week as well, the network said. After Bannon's comments in the book were disclosed, Trump began calling him "Sloppy Steve" and issued a statement saying he'd "lost his mind" after being forced out of the White House.

They had a ringside seat for much of Mr Trump's campaign and transition, a period when numerous key questions about Russian interference arose.

They included scathing remarks about Donald Trump Jr, the president's eldest son, for meeting during the campaign with a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

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