Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has agreed to meet to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, allowing him to avoid appearing before a federal grand jury.
It was reported on Tuesday that Bannon was subpoenaed last week to appear before Mueller’s grand jury, which is empaneled in Washington, D.C. Bannon was subpoenaed after the publication of a tell-all book by Michael Wolff quoted him speaking candidly about Donald Trump Jr. and White House adviser Jared Kushner.
But CNN reported on Wednesday that Bannon struck a deal that will allow him to avoid the grand jury appearance in exchange for a voluntary interview with Mueller’s team.
According to CNN, Bannon plans to cooperate fully with Mueller’s investigators, who are looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
Bannon’s decision to cooperate with Mueller is in stark contrast to his recalcitrance during a House Intelligence Committee interview held on Tuesday. Bannon cited executive privilege during that marathon interview to avoid discussing much of his work on the Trump presidential transition team as well as his communications during and after his White House stint.
Bannon will not be able to cite executive privilege during the Mueller interview, CNN’s sources told the network.
One focus of Mueller’s is likely to be Bannon’s comments to Wolff about Trump Jr. and Kushner.
Bannon told the author that he believed that a June 2016 meeting that Trump Jr. accepted with a group of Russians at Trump Tower was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
Bannon backed off of the “treason” allegation in a statement last week as well as during the House Intelligence Committee interview.
He also told Wolff that while he did not believe that the campaign colluded with Kremlin operatives, Mueller’s investigators are likely to find evidence of money laundering and financial misdeeds on the part of Trump and Kushner.