Trump ally Steve Bannon turns off course, now says he’s willing to testify before January 6 panel

Steve Bannon, a former White House strategist and ally of former US President Donald Trump who is facing criminal charges after months of defying a Congressional subpoena over the Capitol riots, the House committee investigating the attack has said. , said he is now willing to testify.

Bannon’s turnaround was conveyed in a letter from his attorney late Saturday, lawmakers said, as the commission prepares to air some of its most notable revelations against Trump this week in what may be the last series of hearings.

“I expect to hear from him and there are a lot of questions we have for him,” California Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren said. She and other committee members said in televised interviews on Sunday that they plan to seat Bannon for a private interview, which they usually conduct in affidavit with affidavit.

Bannon was one of the most prominent Trump allies who refused to testify before the commission, leading to two criminal counts last year of contempt of Congress for resisting the commission’s subpoena. He has argued that his testimony is protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege. The commission argues that such a claim is questionable because Trump fired Bannon from the White House in 2017 and thus Bannon was a private individual when he consulted with the then president ahead of the January 6, 2021 riots.

But in recent days, as the former president became frustrated with what he rejected as a one-sided presentation by the committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans, Trump said he would waive that privilege claim, according to a letter Saturday to Bannon’s attorney.

Bannon is seen with then-President Donald Trump at the White House in January 2017. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

“If you agree on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive the administrative law for you, allowing you to go in and testify truthfully and honestly, at the request of the Unselected Committee of Political Criminals and Hacks Trump wrote.

The committee hearing on Thursday night will examine the three hours plus time when Trump failed to act as a crowd of supporters stormed the Capitol. It will be the first prime-time hearing since its June 9 debut, which was watched by 20 million people.

A hearing Tuesday will focus on the plotting and planning of the uprising by white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, and will also highlight testimonies taken Friday by former White House attorney Pat Cipollone.

It comes after a surprising testimony last month from Cassidy Hutchinson, former Trump White House aide, who has provided the most compelling evidence yet that Trump could be associated with a federal crime. Since then, the commission has seen an influx of new information and confidential tips.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland suggested that Bannon had “changed his mind, and after seeing all these people come forward, including Cassidy Hutchinson, he’s decided he wants to come in, and if he wants to come in, I’m sure that the committee would be very interested in hearing from him.”

VIEW | Cassidy Hutchinson’s Explosive Testimony:

Trump was determined to join the Jan. 6 mafia, says former White House employee

A last-minute committee hearing on Jan. 6 saw dramatic and damning testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said then-President Donald Trump was determined to join the crowd, rejected the presence of armed rioters and ordered that metal detectors be removed.

Bannon’s trial over the two criminal cases is on July 18. A hearing in his case was scheduled for Monday in federal court in Washington. Bannon has requested that his trial be adjourned to at least fall.

It’s unclear how much Bannon plans to cooperate. He has expressed a preference to appear before the committee during a public hearing. The committee makes it clear that he must first sit for a private interview, usually in an affidavit. It’s also possible that he chooses to appear and then refuses to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

“The way we’ve treated every witness is the same, they come in and talk to the committee there,” Raskin said. “If they’re going to make a statement, they’ll be sworn under oath. It was recorded on video. It’s recorded, and then we’ll record it from there.”

The committee says it wants to hear from Bannon because he had “specific knowledge about the events planned for Jan. 6 before they took place.” It cited comments he made on his podcast the day before the riots as an example.

“It’s not going to happen the way you think it’s going to happen. Okay, it’s going to be very, very different. All I can say is strap in,” Bannon said on that podcast. “Tomorrow all hell will break loose. … So many people said, ‘Man, if I was in a revolution, I’d be in Washington.’ Well, this is your time in history.”

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