White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
- Trump is weighing whether to waive Bannon’s claims of executive privilege over Jan. 6 testimony.
- The Washington Post first reported that the former president was mulling over writing a letter.
- Bannon’s attorneys have sought to delay his trial, set for July 18, to a date later this year.
Former President Donald Trump is reportedly mulling over whether to invoke executive privilege regarding the testimony of his ex-White House senior aide, Steve Bannon, before the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot.
Trump is thinking about sending a letter to the committee — reaffirming that the invoked executive privilege when Bannon was first subpoenaed by the House panel in September 2021, according to The Washington Post — while also stating that he was forgoing the claim if Bannon could come to an agreement with the lawmakers probing the insurrection.
Three individuals with knowledge of the situation confirmed the description of the letter to the newspaper.
According to The Post, several advisors were seeking to convince Trump not to sign the letter.
Last November, a federal grand jury indicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying the House subpoena.
Bannon pleaded not guilty, contending that issues surrounding Trump’s executive privilege on January 6 matters had to be settled before he would initiate any sort of communication with the panel.
He is set to go on trial on July 18.
Even if Bannon decided to appear before the panel, it ostensibly would not end his contempt of Congress case, so it was not immediately clear what effect the letter would have on the upcoming trial.
Bannon, along with former White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, were both indicted for criminal contempt of Congress.
However, the Department of Justice last month declined to prosecute former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and ex-White House deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino for defying the January 6 House committee.
Bannon has threatened to make the criminal charges against him the “misdemeanor from hell” for the administration of President Joe Biden.
In June, Judge Carl Nichols of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed Bannon’s motion to toss the case against him, in which he claimed that the House panel’s subpoenas were illegal.
Later in the month, Bannon’s attorneys sought to delay his trial because of the public nature of the January 6 hearings, arguing its accompanying press coverage was a “media blitz” that could prejudice their client’s case.
The Justice Department last week asked the judge not to push back Bannon’s trial.
“The Defendant’s motion gives the false impression — through general statistics about the volume of viewership of the Committee’s hearings and overall media coverage of the Committee’s hearings — that all of the Committee’s hearings and the attendant media coverage is about him,” department lawyers wrote in a filing. “The truth is just the opposite — the Defendant has barely been mentioned in the Committee’s hearings or the resulting media coverage of them.”