White House defends itself after Bannon's House interview

White House defends itself after Bannon's House interview
© Greg Nash

The White House defended itself on Wednesday against reports that it sought to limit the kinds of questions that Stephen Bannon could answer in an interview with the House Intelligence Committee, saying that it had followed a precedent set by past administrations.

"We’re following the procedure whether it’s in this committee or any other committee down the road," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing. 

Sanders reiterated President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE and his associates' past claims that there was "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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Sanders's comments came amid reports that a lawyer for Bannon relayed questions to the White House counsel on Tuesday, while his client was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. 

During that hearing, Bannon refused to answer questions related to his tenure on the Trump transition team or in the White House. That refusal frustrated lawmakers on the committee, who issued a subpoena to compel Bannon to speak.

Reports also surfaced on Tuesday that Bannon had been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE, who is conducting the criminal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

CNN reported Wednesday that Bannon had struck a deal with Mueller's team to be interviewed by prosecutors instead of testifying before a grand jury. Sanders said that the White House expected everyone involved in the investigative process to cooperate with the special counsel.

"We’re going to be fully cooperative with the special counsel and encourage everybody involved in the process to be fully cooperative," she said.