After initially refusing to comply with the panel’s subpoena late last year and being indicted for his defiance, Steve Bannon, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has now told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol that he is willing to testify.
Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson received a letter from Bannon’s attorney Robert Costello on Saturday stating that Bannon “is willing to, indeed prefers to testify at your public hearing.”
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Steve Bannon Is Willing to Testify
Costello wrote in the letter, “while Mr. Bannon has been steadfast in his convictions, circumstances have now changed.” Trump “has decided that it would be in the best interests of the American people to waive executive privilege for” Bannon, according to his attorney, so that he can respond to the select committee’s subpoena for his testimony and documents.
On Saturday, Trump waived executive privilege in a letter to Costello and Bannon in which he said he would meet with Bannon if he and the committee could agree “on a time and place for your testimony.”
The Guardian was the first to break the news that Bannon would be willing to testify before the committee.
Despite Trump’s assertion that he was protected by executive privilege, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols ruled that former White House strategist Steve Bannon must comply with the select committee’s subpoena. Last month, Bannon asked the court to dismiss the criminal contempt case against him, but Judge Nichols denied his request.
Bannon’s about-face comes days before the start of his trial in the case brought against him by the Justice Department.
The trial began after Bannon ignored a subpoena for documents and testimony issued by the committee in late September. After being found in criminal contempt of Congress by the House for refusing to comply with the demand, he was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress by a federal grand jury in the month of November. Bannon has denied wrongdoing on both counts.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, who serves on the select committee, said he is “certain” investigators would be “very interested” in hearing from Bannon if he testified before the panel.
Raskin said in an interview on “Face the Nation” that “reports today, he’s had a change of heart, and after watching, presumably, all of these people come forward, you know, including Cassidy, Hutchinson, you know, he’s decided that he wants to come in.”
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