Steve Bannon is set to testify before the Appropriations Committee on January 6.
Zoe Lofgren, a member of the panel, said the former adviser to Donald Trump would cooperate despite the fact that she is already facing criminal contempt charges for ignoring the commission’s subpoena.
His testimony could be what House lawmakers need to prove that last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol was not a random outbreak of violence, but rather a “last ditch effort” by Trump and his allies in their bid for power.
Lofgren said CNNState of the Union: “Well, we got a letter around midnight from his lawyer saying he was going to testify. And we wanted him to testify.
“So the committee obviously hasn’t had a chance to discuss it yet, but I expect we’ll hear from him. And we have many questions for him.”
The California Democrat noted that their usual first step for witnesses is to testify under oath behind closed doors, which could be a sticking point in negotiating his testimony.
Another member of the committee, Representative Jamie Raskin, told CBS News’ Face The Nation that their investigation would make Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal “look like the work of the Cub Scouts.”
Representative Zoe Lofgren said she expects the committee she serves on Jan. 6 to “hear” from former Trump adviser Steve Bannon
In a letter obtained by CNN, Bannon’s lawyers clarify that he is “willing and indeed prefers” to testify in an open hearing rather than in a private interview.
“Usually we testify. This goes on hour after hour. We want answers to all our questions. And you can’t do that in a live format,” Lofgren said.
Bannon was present at the Willard Hotel on the night of Jan. 5-6 as Trump allies set up a “war room” to devise a legal strategy to prevent Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s election victory the next day.
He is believed to have spoken personally with Trump on the phone that evening.
A lawyer for the former Trump adviser said in a letter that Bannon had not “changed his posture or attitude” but rather was required to cooperate through executive authority from the ex-president.
Biden, the current president, has made it clear he will not invoke White House executive privilege in the committee’s investigation.
But Bannon’s lawyer also produced a copy of a letter from Trump in which the former president told his former aide: “I’ve watched how unfairly you and others have been treated, having to spend huge amounts of money on legal fees and all the trauma you have to go through for love to our country”.
“Therefore, if you agree to a time and place for your testimony, I will waive executive privilege for you to appear and testify truthfully and fairly, as requested by the Unselect Committee on Political Thugs and Hacks,” Trump wrote. .
Bannon’s lawyer told the committee he was willing to testify because Donald Trump had lifted limits on his powers.
It’s possible that Bannon could offer to testify to soften the Justice Department’s case against him before the trial, which begins on July 18.
If convicted, he faces up to a year in prison and a fine of $100 to $100,000.
Bannon is one of two former Trump advisers charged by the Justice Department with contempt of Congress on a House recommendation. Federal prosecutors did not prosecute former Trump aide Dan Scavino and ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who the House of Representatives also voted to indict.
Democratic lawmaker Maryland Raskin was less forthcoming than Lofgren when asked about the possibility of Bannon testifying.
“My understanding from today’s reports is that he changed his mind, and after all these people presumably came forward, including Cassidy Hutchinson, he decided he wanted to come in,” Raskin said.
“And if he wants to come in, I’m sure the committee will be very interested to hear from him.”
Asked what Americans would be left with after the committee’s final two hearings, he said: “Trying to overturn the results of a presidential election through a political coup and mobilizing an armed, violent mob really doesn’t compare to anything the president has done.” .
“It makes breaking into Watergate look like Boy Scouts.”