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Steve Bannon issued subpoenas by Mueller and House Panel
The legal wrangling erupted over Bannon's refusal to answer questions with regard to his time during the 2016 presidential transition or while in the White House.
By Delila James
Feb 22, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Steve Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, was issued a subpoena during his voluntary, closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday after legal disputes erupted over Bannon's refusal to answer some of the panel's questions.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller also issued a subpoena to Bannon last week, summoning him to appear and testify before a federal grand jury.

The legal wrangling occurred over Bannon's refusal to answer questions with regard to his time during the 2016 presidential transition or while in the White House.

"Of course I authorized the subpoena," said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a Politico report. "That's how the rules work."

According to Republican Representative Tom Rooney, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, Bannon tried to invoke executive privilege in response to the panel's questions.

However, many do not think the privilege applies to what occurred before Trump took office or to conversations in the White House about events during the campaign. In addition, legal experts have questioned whether anyone other than the president can assert the executive privilege.

Last week's grand jury subpoena from Mueller is the first time the special counsel has issued such a subpoena to someone in Trump's inner circle. The move came after Bannon was quoted in Michael Wolff's new book, "Fire and Fury:" Inside the Trump White House," calling Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer "treasonous."

Legal experts say the grand jury subpoena could be a negotiating tactic to persuade Bannon to cooperate with the investigation or a way of providing cover to the witness.

"By forcing someone to testify through a subpoena, you are providing the witness with cover because they can say, 'I had no choice I had to go in and testify about everything I knew,'" said Solomon L. Wisenberg, a prosecutor of the independent counsel that investigated former President Bill Clinton, in a report by The New York Times.