Stephen Bannon Agrees to Testify to Jan. 6 Panel


WASHINGTON — Along with his legal trial for contempt of Congress approaching, Stephen Okay. Bannon, an ally of former President Donald J. Trump’s who was concerned in his plans to overturn the 2020 election, has knowledgeable the Home committee investigating the Capitol assault that he’s now keen to testify, in response to two letters obtained by The New York Instances.

His choice is a exceptional about-face for Mr. Bannon, who till Saturday had been among the many most obstinate and defiant of the committee’s potential witnesses. He had promised to show the legal case in opposition to him into the “misdemeanor from hell” for the Justice Division.

However with the potential of two years in jail and enormous fines looming on the horizon, Mr. Bannon has been approved to testify by Mr. Trump, his lawyer informed the committee late on Saturday in a letter, which was reported earlier by The Guardian.

The previous president had beforehand instructed Mr. Bannon and different associates to not cooperate with the panel, claiming that govt privilege — a president’s energy to withhold sure inner govt department info, particularly confidential communications involving him or his prime aides — compelled them to remain silent. However in current days, as a number of witnesses have come ahead to supply the Home panel damning testimony about his conduct, Mr. Trump has grown annoyed that one in every of his fiercest defenders has not but appeared earlier than the committee, folks near him mentioned.

“Mr. Bannon is keen to, and certainly prefers, to testify at your public listening to,” Robert J. Costello, Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, wrote to Consultant Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee.

Mr. Costello mentioned that Mr. Bannon’s choice to adjust to the committee’s subpoena got here after he was cleared to testify by Mr. Trump. He supplied the panel with a letter that Mr. Trump despatched to Mr. Bannon on Saturday that waived any declare to govt privilege over his testimony or paperwork related to the subpoena.

“Our place concerning the committee stays unchanged, however President Trump needs Mr. Bannon to inform the committee the reality,” Mr. Costello mentioned on Sunday. He mentioned Mr. Bannon deliberate to produce the committee with paperwork in addition to testimony.

The committee and the Justice Division have lengthy maintained that Mr. Trump has no legitimate declare of govt privilege over Mr. Bannon’s testimony, partially as a result of Mr. Bannon left the White Home in 2017 and was a non-public citizen when he was concerned in Mr. Trump’s efforts to carry on to energy after the 2020 election.

“While you first acquired the subpoena to testify and supply paperwork, I invoked govt privilege,” Mr. Trump wrote in his letter to Mr. Bannon on Saturday. “Nevertheless, I watched how unfairly you and others have been handled, having to spend huge quantities of cash on authorized charges and the entire trauma you have to be going via for the love of your nation and out of respect for the workplace of the president.”

“Due to this fact,” he continued, “if you happen to attain an settlement on a time and place on your testimony, I’ll waive govt privilege for you, which permits so that you can go in and testify in truth and pretty, as per the request of the unselect committee of political thugs and hacks.”

Mr. Bannon’s trial on two counts of legal contempt of Congress is about for July 18. Every depend carries a penalty of as much as a 12 months in jail and a $100,000 effective.

It stays to be seen how Mr. Bannon’s new posture will have an effect on the legal continuing, and the way forthcoming he might be. He may refuse to discuss sure subjects, citing his Fifth Modification proper in opposition to self-incrimination, as another witnesses have executed. However the committee has repeatedly mentioned that it wants to listen to from Mr. Bannon and obtain the paperwork it requested from him about plans to overturn the 2020 election.

“We obtained the letter round midnight from his lawyer saying that he would testify, and we now have wished him to testify,” Consultant Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and a member of the committee, informed CNN on Sunday. “So the committee, after all, has not but had an opportunity to debate it, however I anticipate that we’ll be listening to from him. And there are lots of questions that we now have for him.”

Ought to Mr. Bannon finally seem for an interview, he would give his testimony behind closed doorways like lots of of different witnesses have executed, Ms. Lofgren mentioned. The committee has fastidiously choreographed its public hearings to make a streamlined presentation of its case, and has labored to keep away from public sparring periods with witnesses.

For months, Mr. Bannon has been maybe probably the most bombastic and strident potential witness the committee has referred to as to testify. He refused to show over a single doc or sit for a minute of testimony. For his intransigence, the Home voted in October to carry Mr. Bannon in legal contempt of Congress.

However the panel has insisted that Mr. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist and counselor, may assist investigators higher perceive the Jan. 6, 2021, assault, which was meant to cease the certification of President Biden’s victory.

On his radio present on Jan. 5, 2021, Mr. Bannon promised that “all hell goes to interrupt unfastened tomorrow,” an announcement that reveals he “had some foreknowledge about excessive occasions that may happen the subsequent day,” the committee mentioned in a report.

Investigators have additionally pointed to a dialog Mr. Bannon had with Mr. Trump on Dec. 30, 2020, through which he urged him to focus his efforts on Jan. 6, the day that Congress was to make the official depend of electoral votes to substantiate Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr. Bannon was additionally current at a gathering on the Willard Resort in Washington the day earlier than the violence, when plans had been mentioned to attempt to overturn the outcomes of the election the next day.

Mr. Bannon’s legal case is simply the most recent in opposition to him.

Federal prosecutors indicted and arrested him in 2020 in Manhattan on expenses associated to cash raised to advertise the development of the border wall lengthy sought by Mr. Trump. However earlier than dealing with trial, he was pre-emptively pardoned by Mr. Trump hours earlier than the previous president left workplace.

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