Trump Never Asserted Executive Privilege on Bannon, Says DOJ

The Department of Justice stated on Monday that erstwhile President Trump never exercised executive privilege over ex-chief strategist of the White House Steve Bannon. 

Bannon has now indicated he is willing to give testimony before the House Committee on January 6, despite the fact he faces a jail sentence for failing to do so in the past. 

Contempt of Congress

The Department of Justice disclosed in a court statement that it conferred with Justin Clark, representing Donald Trump.

The questioning of Clark by the FBI on June 29 was conducted in connection with the Department of Justice’s criminal contempt action against Bannon.

After working for Trump for roughly seven months as a member of the White House staff, Bannon eventually parted ways with the president. 

Bannon had long since left his position as a White House staffer by January 6, 2021, when pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol, trying to nullify Congress’ validation of Biden’s 2020 victory.

Nevertheless, he has been stonewalling the House Jan. 6 committee for eight months by citing executive privilege regarding presidential discussions.

Because he disobeyed a subpoena issued by the January 6 committee, he now faces a contempt case and is scheduled to stand trial on July 18. 

Over the weekend, Bannon changed his stance and said Trump “waved” his assertions of executive privilege. That would clear the way for him to appear in the investigation. 

The change in Bannon’s position regarding his willingness to talk with the panel comes just a few days before it is anticipated that jury selection will take place, amid the contempt of Congress trial he is facing. 

Change in Circumstances

In a letter addressed to the committee on January 6, Bannon’s attorney, Bob Costello sent out a very clear message regarding his client’s situation.

Costello stated that despite the fact Bannon has remained firm in his principles, the circumstances have recently altered. Therefore, Bannon is not only willing, but eager, to testify in public at the upcoming hearing.

Following the release of a letter from Trump in which he stated that he would forgo executive privilege if the defendant reached a deal to testify before the committee, Bannon has decided to take a different approach. 

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who is on the special review panel, told CNN on Sunday that she anticipates they will hear from Bannon.

She also projects that they have a range of concerns for him to answer. Lofgren is a key member of the committee. 

These concerns would include comments made by Bannon on his podcast in the days leading up to January 6.

These comments may have hinted in a roundabout way that something significant and unanticipated would happen as Congress verified the votes from the Electoral College that declared Biden the next president.