January 6 hearings: Steve Bannon offers to testify
Donald Trump’s former close adviser Steve Bannon told the congressional panel investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol that he was ready to testify, a change of heart just days before be tried for contempt of Congress.
In a letter to the committee seen by Reuters, Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, wrote to say the former president would waive the claim of executive privilege that Bannon had cited by refusing to appear before the committee.
Bannon, a prominent figure in right-wing media circles who served as Trump’s chief strategist in 2017, is due to stand trial July 18 on two charges of criminal contempt for refusing to testify or provide documents.
The attorney’s letter said Bannon preferred to testify publicly, but Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat on the committee, told CNN that usually the committee takes a deposition behind closed doors.
« It goes on for hours and hours. We want all of our questions answered. And you can’t do that live, » Lofgren said. « There are a lot of questions we have for him. »
Throughout the House of Representatives committee hearings, video clips of closed-door testimony from witnesses under oath were shown to the public.
Trump angers that none of his supporters testified in his defense at committee hearings which, separate from the trial, focus on attacking Trump supporters seeking to prevent Congressional certification of Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden in November 2020 election.
In a letter from Trump to Bannon seen by Reuters, Trump said he was waiving executive privilege because he « saw how unfairly you and others have been treated. »
The House panel is scheduled to hold public hearings on Tuesday and Thursday of this week.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Howard Goller)