Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has reached an agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to come in for an interview with the special counsel’s team office after he was subpoenaed by Mueller to appear before a grand jury, according to a sources familiar with the matter.
The interview has not yet been scheduled, according to one source.
Bannon spent roughly ten hours behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday. The panel also subpoenaed Bannon for testimony as part of its Russia investigation after he refused Tuesday to answer questions about his time working for Trump during the transition and in the White House.
Bannon, according to one source close to him, welcomes the subpoenas and hopes it sends a signal to the president that he is not seeking to spill information. Bannon parted ways with the president this month in wake of Michael Wolff’s bombshell book, “The Fire and the Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, which paints a portrait of dysfunction in the White House, told in many parts from Bannon’s viewpoint.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday confirmed that Bannon’s attorney was in touch with the White House yesterday during his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, as he determined whether or not to answer members’ and staff questions.
“That’s the same process that is typically followed,” Sanders said. “Sometimes they actually have a White House attorney present in the room, this time it was something that was relayed via phone and, again, was following standard procedure for an instance like this and something that will likely happen again on any other number of occasions not just within this administration but future administrations,” Sanders said.
A source familiar with Bannon’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said the White House had instructed Bannon not to answer questions about his time during the transition and the White House unless and until the committee and the White House can reach agreement on the proper scope of questioning in light of executive privilege concerns.
In a statement to ABC News, Bannon attorney William Burck said, “Executive privilege belongs to the President of the United States. It’s not Mr. Bannon’s right to waive it.”
On Wednesday the panel interviewed outgoing White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Bannon is expected back before the House Intelligence Committee to resolve questions about his testimony and claims of privilege as early as Thursday, sources tell ABC News.
Another source familiar with the investigation told ABC News that it was anticipated that congressional investigators and the special counsel would want to speak with Bannon after Wolff wrote in Fire and Fury that Bannon allegedly called Donald Trump Jr’s meeting at Trump Tower with the Russians “treasonous,” “unpatriotic.”
In the book, Bannon reportedly said “The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”
Bannon also allegedly told Wolff that Trump Jr. would suffer from a money laundering investigation and would “crack … like an egg on national TV.” And Wolff claims Bannon openly suggested that Jared Kushner, the president’s son in law, and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort might have been involved in financial crimes.
Investigators might be interested in what Bannon knows about the White House’s slow response to then-Acting Attorney General Yates’ concerns about former national security adviser Michael Flynn (and, also his misleading of the vice president about conversations with the Russian ambassador and his subsequent firing), former FBI director James Comey’s firing, White House and campaign discussions about the Trump tower meeting with Russians, and White House involvement regarding the misleading statement by Trump Jr. about meeting with Russians, among other topics.
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