National Security

Bannon slammed House Russia probe as attempt to ‘decertify’ Trump’s election: report

Greg Nash

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon reportedly attacked the House investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election as an attempt to delegitimize President Trump’s victory during his testimony on Tuesday.

Rep. Tom Rooney (Fla.), one of the top Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, told Politico that Bannon made the remark during his 10-plus hour testimony before the committee.

The former Trump strategist blasted the committee’s investigation as an attempt to “decertify the last election,” according to Rooney.

{mosads}Rooney also told Politico that he would “have to consider” whether or not to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer some of the committee’s questions.

Bannon was slapped with a subpoena in the middle of his testimony Tuesday after he declined to answer some questions posed by lawmakers.

Multiple sources told The Hill Tuesday that Bannon indicated to lawmakers that he would answer questions about the Trump campaign, but not about his work on the transition team or in the White House. Bannon, alongside his lawyer, said he would only answer those questions when he speaks to special counsel Robert Mueller.

That stance infuriated lawmakers. Sources described the meeting as a “total free-for-all” and “brutal.”

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Bannon’s attorney, Bill Burck, was communicating with the White House counsel’s office via phone during Bannon’s testimony to check on whether it would allow Bannon to answer certain questions.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, described the effort as a “gag order by the White House” and said Bannon “was instructed by the White House to refuse again to answer any questions concerning the time during the transition and his time in the administration.”

But White House chief of staff John Kelly pushed back on Schiff’s remarks Wednesday, saying the White House did not tell Bannon to invoke executive privilege and refuse to answer questions during the meeting.

Bannon has also been subpoenaed by Mueller and is reportedly set to fully cooperate with his investigation.

Tags Adam Schiff Donald Trump Donald Trump House Intelligence Committee John Kelly Robert Mueller Russia Steve Bannon Tom Rooney
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