Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Subpoenas Stephen Bannon

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Subpoenas Stephen Bannon

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks during a rally for USA senate hopeful Roy Moore.

On Tuesday, Bannon testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

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While the subpoena is seen as a sign that Bannon is not a personal focus of the investigation, it does represent a looming negotiating tactic for Mueller's investigation. He also predicted the special counsel investigation would center on money laundering.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who served as Trump's spokeswoman during his presidential campaign after a tenure with his Trump Organization real estate business, is also expected to be questioned by the committee this week, according to a congressional source.

According to author Michael Wolff's book, "Fire & Fury: Inside the Trump White House", Bannon called the meeting "treasonous" and "unpatriotic".

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Bannon's comments in the book prompted the president's fury, but he has since indicated that his anger may not be permanent. But the president attracted scrutiny last summer when The Washington Post reported that he "dictated" an initially misleading statement that Trump Jr. released in response to reports about the Trump Tower meeting. Trump's former political adviser is also expected to face questions about his knowledge of Russian contacts during the transition. Mr. Trump disavowed Bannon after those remarks emerged, saying his former chief strategist had "lost his mind" and dismissed Bannon's role in his successful presidential campaign.

Bannon a year ago had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Bannon apologized a few days later, but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News. The special counsel is reportedly preparing to interview Mr Trump as well.

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