Trump ally Steve Bannon reverses course, now says he’s willing to testify before Jan. 6 panel
Steve Bannon, a former White House strategist and ally of former US president Donald Trump, who faces criminal charges months after defying a congressional subpoena over the Capitol riots, told the House hacking committee that he is now available to testify.
Lawmakers said Bannon’s objections were conveyed in a letter late Saturday from his attorney, as the committee prepares to release some of their most prominent revelations this week against against Trump in what may be their final set of hearings.
“I hope that we’ll get a response from him and have a lot of questions that we have for him,” said Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California. She and other members of the committee said in television interviews on Sunday that they intended to have Bannon sit for a private interview, which they usually conduct in a demise with testimony. declaration.
Bannon had been one of the Trump ally’s highest supporters in refusing to testify before the committee, which led to two counts of contempt of Congress last year for resisting the committee’s subpoenas. He argued that his testimony was protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege. The committee considers such a statement ambiguous because Trump fired Bannon from the White House in 2017 and Bannon was therefore a private citizen when he consulted with the then president during the riots on June 6. January 2021.
However, in recent days, as the former president expressed frustration with what he decried as a one-way presentation by the committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans, Trump said he will waive that privilege request, according to a letter to Bannon’s attorney on Saturday.
“If you reach agreement on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive the privilege of operating for you, allowing you to come in and testify honestly and fairly, as requested by you. non-chosen committee on thugs and political hacking,” Trump wrote.
The committee’s hearing on Thursday night will look at an extended three-hour period when Trump failed to act like a mob of supporters stormed the Capitol. It will be the first primetime hearing since its June 9 launch, seen by 20 million people.
Tuesday’s hearing will focus on the conspiracies and plans of insurrection by white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys, the Oath-Keepers and the Three Percent, and will also highlight testimony given taken on Friday from former White House adviser Pat Cipollone.
It comes after surprising testimony last month from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson provided the most compelling evidence yet that Trump may have been involved in a federal crime. Since then, the committee has seen a flurry of new information and secret tricks.
Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland suggested that Bannon “changed his mind and after watching, probably all of these people came forward, including Cassidy Hutchinson, he decided that he wanted to come in and if he did If he wants to come in, I’m sure the committee will be very interested in hearing from him.”
Bannon’s trial on the two counts is July 18. A hearing in his case has been scheduled for Monday in federal court in Washington. Bannon sought to delay his trial to at least reduce it.
It is not clear how much Bannon plans to cooperate. He has expressed his wish to appear before the committee in a public hearing. The committee is making it clear that he must first sit for a private interview, usually under oath. It is also possible that he chose to appear and then refuse to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
“The way we treat every witness is the same, that’s when they come in, they talk to the committee there,” Raskin said. “If they were going to bring it down, they took an oath.
The committee said it wanted to hear from Bannon because he “has specific knowledge of events scheduled for January 6 before they occur.” It was cited as an example comment he made on his podcast the day before the riot.
“It’s not going to happen like you think it will. Okay, it’s going to be very different. All I can say is accept it,” Bannon said in that podcast. “All hell will break tomorrow. … So a lot of people said, ` `God, if I join a revolution, I’ll be in Washington.’ Well, this is my moment. you in history.”