The House Intelligence Committee has postponed a planned Thursday afternoon interview with Stephen Bannon, a former White House adviser and architect of President Donald Trump’s campaign, after his lawyer protested the panel had not given them enough time to coordinate with the administration about what he could discuss.
The committee’s deputy staff director on Thursday told Bannon’s lawyer, William Burck, that the panel “is prepared to extend the return date on the subpoena” it issued for Bannon’s testimony during a closed-door interview Tuesday, according to emails shared with The Washington Post. In a rare moment of bipartisanship for the panel, committee Republicans and Democrats decided to serve Bannon with a subpoena mid-interview after he refused to answer questions about the transition period, his time in the administration, and conversations he had with Trump since leaving the White House in August, arguing, through his lawyer, that the White House might seek to exert executive privilege over those matters.
In a Wednesday letter to Burck, committee members Reps. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who is running its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and Adam Schiff of California, the panel’s ranking Democrat, told Bannon to return Thursday at 2 p.m. to face similar questions, and “clarify” with the White House before then “the precise scope of any executive privilege claims the president may wish to invoke.”
Burck wrote back to the committee Wednesday evening, telling Conaway and Schiff that they had given Bannon “plainly insufficient time” to carry out the request and that there was “no conceivable way” they could complete the discussions with the White House in time.
The committee suggested Jan. 29 as an alternative. Bannon has yet to agree to the date.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Karoun Demirjian, Rosalind S. Helderman