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Trump loyalist Steve Bannon agrees to testify before Jan. 6 committee

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Steven Bannon is now willing to appear in front of the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot after months of refusing to testify, resulting in criminal contempt charges, according to a new letter from his lawyer.

The letter, sent to the investigative body late Saturday, conveyed the reversal, lawmakers said as the committee is set to conduct more hearings its members say could provide explosive revelations against ex-President Donald Trump.

“I expect that we will be hearing from [Bannon] and there are many questions that we have for him,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Bannon was slapped with two criminal counts of contempt of Congress last year for turning down the committee’s subpoena to talk. He claimed his testimony is protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege, even though the committee argued that claim was doubtful because Bannon was a private citizen advising Trump when the Jan. 6, 2021 riot occurred.

Bannon was fired from a White House role in 2017.

Trump said he’d waive the privilege assertion, according to a letter to Bannon’s lawyer.

Bannon had rejected previous House subpoenas, stating the former president’s claimed executive privilege covered him, as well.
AP/Evan Vucci

“If you reach an agreement on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive executive privilege for you, 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,” Trump wrote.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” he believes Bannon “had a change of heart” after watching other people, like former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, speak to the committee.

“He’s decided that he wants to come in, and if he wants to come in, I’m certain that the committee would be very interested in hearing from him,” Raskin said.

It’s unknown if or how much Bannon intends to cooperate once he appears.

He has said he’d rather appear in a public hearing, though the committee has signaled he needs to first talk in a private interview, typically in a sworn deposition.

“The way that we have treated every single witness is the same, that they come in, they talk to the committee there,” Raskin said. “If they’re going to take a deposition, they’re sworn under oath. It’s videotaped. It’s recorded, and then we take it from there.”

The committee believes Bannon “had specific knowledge about the events planned for Jan. 6 before they occurred,” citing comments on a podcast the day before the chaos.

“It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen. OK, it’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is strap in,” Bannon said in the podcast. “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. … So many people said, ‘Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.’ Well, this is your time in history.”

The House select committee tasked with investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol meets to hold one of former President Donald Trump's allies in contempt, former strategist Steve Bannon, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 19, 2021.
The committee believes Bannon “had specific knowledge about the events planned for Jan. 6 before they occurred.”
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Bannon’s trial on the contempt charges is July 18 with a hearing scheduled Monday, though the former White House advisor has attempted to delay the trial to at least the fall.

A Jan. 6 hearing on Tuesday will look at the plotting and planning of the attack by white nationalist groups while also highlighting Friday testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Raskin said.

The committee’s Thursday evening hearing will outline what Trump was doing for more than three hours as supporters descended on the Capitol.

“We want to show the American people what the president was doing during that time,” GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.

“The rest of the country knew that there was an insurrection. The president obviously had to have known there was an insurrection. So where was he? What was he doing? It’s a very important hearing. Pay attention. Because I think it goes to the heart of what is the oath of a leader.”

With Post wires

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