Steve Bannon says he’s ready to testify before panel Jan. 6 after Trump drops executive privilege claims

Bannon’s reconsideration comes after he received a letter from his ex President Donald Trump giving up Administrative privilegeAlthough both the House Select Committee and federal prosecutors initially argued that Bannon did not seek carte blanche to ignore a congressional subpoena.

“When you were first subpoenaed to testify and produce documents, I was granted executive privilege. However, I saw how unfairly you and others were treated, spent a lot of money on legal fees, and the trauma you went through. I’m going out of love for your country and respect for the office of the presidency,” Trump said. In a letter to Bannon on Saturday, obtained by CNN.

“So, if you can reach an agreement on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive your executive privilege, which allows you to go in and testify truthfully and fairly,” Trump added. Thugs and Hacks.”

Bannon was indicted last year on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. He argued that he was free to ignore his congressional subpoena to protect Trump’s potential privilege demands. But federal prosecutors and other legal experts have argued the privilege doesn’t apply to Bannon — who left his White House chief strategist years before the Capitol riots — and doesn’t give him the power to refuse to hand over any documents or testimony. group.

Bannon’s team provided Trump’s new letter to the committee overnight Jan. 6, along with a letter from Bannon attorney Bob Costello.

“While Mr. Bannon remained steadfast in his beliefs, circumstances have now changed,” Costello wrote. “Mr. Bannon is willing, indeed willing, to testify at your public hearing.”

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Rep. Joe Lofgren, a California Democrat who sits on the Jan. 6 panel, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday’s “State of the Union” that the panel has not yet had a chance to discuss Bannon’s letter, but “I look forward to it. We will ask him, he has a lot of questions.”

Lofgren, however, said public testimony from Bannon was unlikely, noting that the committee usually conducts depositions. “It goes on for hours and hours. We want to answer all our questions, which you can’t do in a live format,” he said.

The Jan. 6 team was eager to talk to Bannon about interactions with Trump in December 2020, and Bannon insisted that he focus on the Jan. 6 certification of the presidential election results. Panelists were intrigued by Bannon’s comments ahead of the Capitol uprising, including a Jan. 5 podcast in which he predicted “all hell will break loose tomorrow.”

In a court filing Monday, federal prosecutors called Bannon’s willingness to testify before the House Select Committee a “last-minute” effort that would not change the case against him, pointing out that he did not produce the subpoenaed records.

“Defendant’s last-minute efforts to testify nine months later — and he has yet to make any effort to produce records — are irrelevant to whether he willfully refused to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena in October 2021,” the attorneys wrote.

Bannon is currently scheduled to be arraigned on July 18.

“The Criminal Contempt Act is not intended to buy compliance; it is intended to punish past non-compliance,” the lawyers said in their filing.

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A spokesman for the group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story has been updated with additional developments and reactions.

CNN’s Holmes Lybrand and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

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