Steve Bannon, a Trump Loyalist, Agrees to Speak Before a Committee on January 6!
Steven Bannon is now willing to testify in front of the House select committee looking into last year’s Capitol riot, his lawyer said in a newsletter. For months, Bannon refused to testify, which led to criminal contempt charges.
The letter, which was sent to the investigating body late Saturday night, told them about the change, lawmakers said. The committee is set to hold more hearings, which lawmakers say could lead to bombshell information about former President Donald Trump.
“I expect that we will be hearing from [Bannon] and there are many questions that we have for him,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
Bannon, a former White House strategist, and Trump ally was charged with two criminal counts of contempt of Congress last year because he refused to talk to the committee when they asked him to.
He claimed his testimony is protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege, even though the committee argued that claim was doubtful because Bannon was a private citizen advising Trump when the Jan. 6, 2021 riot occurred.
Bannon was fired from a White House role in 2017. Trump said he’d waive the privilege assertion, according to a letter to Bannon’s lawyer.
“If you reach an agreement on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive executive privilege for you, which allows for you to go in and testify truthfully and fairly, as per the request of the unselect committee of political thugs and hacks,” Trump wrote.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” he believes Bannon “had a change of heart” after watching other people, like former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, speak to the committee.
“He’s decided that he wants to come in, and if he wants to come in, I’m certain that the committee would be very interested in hearing from him,” Raskin said.
No one knows if or how much Bannon plans to help once he shows up. He has said he’d rather appear in a public hearing, though the committee has signaled he needs to first talk in a private interview, typically in a sworn deposition.
Raskin said, “Every witness has been treated the same way: they come in and talk to the committee there.” “They take an oath if they’re going to give a deposition. It’s on video. We record it, and then we decide what to do with it.”
The committee thinks Bannon “knew exactly what was going to happen on Jan. 6 before it did,” based on what he said in a podcast the day before the chaos.
“It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen. OK, it’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is strap in,” Bannon said in the podcast. “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. … So many people said, ‘Man if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.’ Well, this is your time in history.”
The contempt trial for Bannon is set for July 18, and a hearing is set for Monday. However, the former White House advisor has tried to push the trial back until at least the fall.
A Jan. 6 hearing on Tuesday will look at the plotting and planning of the attack by white nationalist groups while also highlighting Friday testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Raskin said.
On Thursday evening, the committee will hold a hearing to find out what Trump did for more than three hours while supporters came to the Capitol.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of the GOP said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, “We want to show the American people what the president was doing at that time.”
“Everyone else in the country knew there was a rebellion. The president must have known there was a rebellion since it was so clear. Where was he then? Was he doing something? This hearing is very important. Look around. I think it gets to the heart of what it means to be a leader.