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Bannon 'refuses to answer' questions in Russian Federation investigation

Bannon 'refuses to answer' questions in Russian Federation investigation

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon finally appeared before the House Intelligence Committee after postponing several times, but Committee members weren't satisfied with what he had to say, according to NBC News.

Schiff has said the White House was barring Bannon from testifying on "matters during the transition, his tenure at the White House, and his communications with the president since leaving government service, even though the president has not in fact invoked executive privilege". "We did not ask him to come in to answer questions about his time as a private citizen - so I think that's clearly a difference between him and Steve Bannon".

Bannon also met with the House Intelligence Committee this week, though this interview was halted after he refused to answer several questions about the Russian Federation probe, only agreeing to answer the 25 yes-or-no questions provided by the White House.

"That's not how privilege works", Schiff said. He declined to say whether Bannon should be held in contempt of Congress, a process that could lead to months of legal wrangling.

"Mr. Bannon not only refused to answer questions about meetings he had attended and conversations he had had during that entire period of time after the campaign, but it went so far to refuse to answer questions about conversations he had after he left the administration and with people who played no role in the administration", Schiff said.

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House members from both parties have so far rejected that broad interpretation of executive privilege, raising the stakes for Bannon's standoff with Congress.

Bannon's initial appearance before the committee came on January 17 and was interrupted several times. When last week's deadline was moved back for another week, Rep. Adam Schiff of California said the White House had offered a list of 14 yes-or-no questions Bannon could answer. The House issued a subpoena after that encounter, and Bannon kept pushing off his testimony. Now several Republicans say that holding Bannon in contempt, if he does not cooperate with their interview, will be necessary to send a message to this and future administrations that they can not blithely ignore congressional subpoenas and other oversight.

Bannon's refusal to answer questions has drawn rare bipartisan condemnation from lawmakers involved in questioning the former Breitbart executive chairman. He's appearing under a subpoena amid a dispute with White House lawyers over what questions he can answer.

Schiff also argued that the questions pre-approved by the White House were "self-serving" and designed "to mislead the committee".

After the interview, Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley said Bannon answered Republicans' questions "no better than" his own.

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