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 John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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.