Political News

Bannon given more time to sort out with WH what he can tell Hill investigators

Posted January 18, 2018 9:43 a.m. EST

— The House Intelligence Committee has agreed to give former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon until the end of the month to return to the panel and finish his closed-door interview, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Bannon's attorney, in a letter to the committee shared with CNN, said the committee asked that his legal team work out with the White House the scope of the executive privilege President Donald Trump could potentially assert in the future.

Bannon was expected to return at 2 p.m. ET Thursday to respond to a subpoena issued during his closed-door testimony on Tuesday, when Republicans and Democrats were irritated by his refusal to answer questions relating to the transition and his time in the White House. Bannon refused to answer certain questions at the direction of White House lawyers who instructed that they might want to assert executive privilege.

The postponement follows an exchange of terse letters by the House panel and Bannon's attorney, William Burck.

"Mr. Bannon remains willing to speak with the committee so long as there is an accommodation reached between the White House and the committee on what information he can share that strikes an agreed -- meaning agreed between the White House and the committee -- balance between the prerogatives claimed by each," Burck wrote.

"This is plainly insufficient time" to review topics and negotiate between the White House and committee, Burck wrote. He also raised the issue of having time to review documents produced by the White House.

"I have already been in contact with the White House concerning your letter and have commenced the accommodation process requested by the committee. Nonetheless, I would need significantly more time to accomplish what you have asked me to do," Burck wrote.

Burck also sought to correct "errors" relayed by the Hill. He said Bannon did not refuse to answer a question about his communications with Trump since August 2017, a period that followed Bannon's exit from the White House.

"My client refused to discuss only advice he provided the President from August 18, 2017, to the present on the ground that such information could be subject to a claim of executive privilege by the President," Burck wrote.

Burck confirmed in the letter that the White House told Bannon he was not authorized to discuss the transition or his time in the White House until an agreement was reached between the White House and lawmakers. Burck said in the letter that he discussed the limitations of the interview with staff of the majority before the hearing and no objections were raised.