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Steve Bannon set to appear before US House probe into Russian Federation collusion

Steve Bannon set to appear before US House probe into Russian Federation collusion

On Tuesday, Trump's former adviser and campaign strategist Steve Bannon was questioned for 11 hours by the House Intelligence Committee and was subpoenaed to further testify before a grand jury after he claimed to have been told not to answer questions about Russian Federation by the White House.

Mr Mueller's subpoena, which was issued last week, could be a pressure tactic to induce Mr Bannon to cooperate fully with his investigation, the Times reported.

"Mr. Lewandowski said he was not prepared to answer those questions today", said Representative Adam Schiff of California, noting the episode came one day after Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon refused to answer numerous panel's questions because he said the White House may want to assert executive privilege.

Tensions flared early in the proceedings after Bannon informed the committee that he was refusing to answer any questions about his time in the White House or on the post-election transition, infuriating Democrats and Republicans on the panel, who subpoenaed him on the spot, according to a source familiar with the interview.

The reported subpoena of Bannon does not mean he is a target of Mueller's criminal investigation.

Mr Schiff later said Mr Bannon had refused to answer questions about conversations held both during his time at the White House and during the transition between the election and Mr Trump's inauguration.

"Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say", that person told the Beast.

"If the White House is permitted to maintain that kind of a gag rule on a witness, no congressional investigation could ever be effective".

The official declined to say who initiated the mid-testimony phone call or who took part on behalf of the White House.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said after the hearing that Bannon was instructed by the White House in advance of the hearing not to respond to certain topics.

Watch Bill Murray steal the show as Steve Bannon on 'SNL'
Early on Wolff draws a parallel between the Mel Brooks film the Producers and the Trump election campaign. Trump can crush Bannon in many ways, but he cannot control what Bannon will say to Mueller and Congress.

The meeting is expected to occur as soon as Friday, the sources said.

"This is a very unsafe environment for Steve Bannon", Napolitano said, explaining that George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn also interviewed with Mueller's team and each ended up walking into a "perjury trap".

White House, Presidential physician Ronny Jackson answers question about US President Donald Trump's health after the president's annual physical during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2018.

The embattled ex-communications chief has been blasted by Trump over comments he made relating to Russian in author Michael Wolff's explosive book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

Bannon's refusal to answer the committee's questions Tuesday spurred lawmakers to issue and serve an immediate subpoena on Bannon to compel his appearance and testimony.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that the White House was not concerned with what Bannon might say to Congress or special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

The subpoena suggests Bannon is not personally the focus of the investigation. That subpoena will remain in effect when Bannon comes back before the committee for more questioning, members said.

Mr Bannon was a champion of Mr Trump's populist "America First" agenda and one the candidate's closest aides.

Some of the USA law enforcement officials said they view the department as capitulating to a small group of Republicans who are intent on helping Trump undermine the integrity of the FBI and, by extension, Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.