Updated Jul 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Bannon says he's willing to testify before Jan. 6 panel

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon departs the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse on June 15 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Trump said he has waived executive privilege to allow Steve Bannon to testify before the Jan. 6 committee, according to a letter he sent his former adviser on Saturday.

What's new: The Justice Department said Trump's attorney Justin Clark told the FBI in a June 29 interview "that the former President never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials" related to Bannon, per a motion filed in the District Court in D.C. early Monday and obtained by the Guardian's Hugo Lowell.

Why it matters: Last November, a federal grand jury indicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 panel.

What they're saying: The DOJ said in its Monday court filing that Bannon's "last-minute efforts to testify, almost nine months after his default — he has still made no effort to produce records — are irrelevant to whether he willfully refused to comply in October 2021 with the Select Committee’s subpoena."

  • Any evidence or argument "relating to his eleventh-hour efforts should, therefore, be excluded at trial," the motion added.

Driving the news: In his letter, Trump said he invoked executive privilege when Bannon first received his subpoena from the committee.

  • However, he said he decided to reverse his stance after watching "how unfairly" Bannon and others had been treated, "having to spend vast amounts of money on legal fees, and all of the trauma you must be going through for the love of your Country."
  • If a time and place could be agreed upon for testimony, Trump wrote that he would waive executive privilege, "which allows for you to go in and testify truthfully and fairly, as per the request of the Unselect Committee of political Thugs and Hacks."

In a letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the Jan. 6 committee, a lawyer for Bannon wrote that his client would be willing to testify and would prefer to do so at a public hearing.

  • "Mr. Bannon has not had a change of posture or of heart," Robert Costello wrote, but he noted that "circumstances have now changed," in reference to Trump's decision to waive executive privilege.

State of play: Damning testimony from the Jan. 6 committee has been drawing in millions of viewers and seeking to emphasize the direct ties between Trump and the violence on Jan. 6.

  • Representatives for Trump and Bannon did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details from the DOJ's court filing.

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