WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, the former senior adviser to ex-President Donald Trump, has agreed to cooperate with the special U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a move that comes after months of defying a congressional subpoena to testify.
Bannon notified investigators via his attorney on Saturday that he is willing to testify publicly after receiving Trump's approval in a letter.
Bannon, who served as one of Trump’s 2016 campaign managers and later as White House chief strategist, was indicted last fall on federal contempt of Congress charges for refusing to comply with the congressional subpoena.
His trial on those charges is scheduled to start July 18, with Bannon facing up to two years in jail and up to $200,000 in fines.
He previously argued that he would not testify because his communications with Trump were protected by executive privilege. The panel has argued the claims of presidential privilege are not valid because Bannon was a private citizen and no longer employed by the White House when he informally advised Trump after the 2020 election.
Trump, in a Saturday letter to Bannon and his attorney Robert J. Costello — first obtained by the news outlet The Guardian — said he would waive his claim to executive privilege over his communications with Bannon to allow him to testify before what he called a panel of “political Thugs and Hacks.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), told “Face the Nation” on CBS that the committee “would be very interested in hearing from” Bannon, but noted any initial testimony will likely be behind closed doors.
“The way that we treat every single witness is the same … they come in, they talk to the committee … if they’re going to take a deposition, they’re sworn under oath, it’s videotaped, it’s recorded and then we’ll take it from there,” Raskin said.
The development comes as the bipartisan committee prepares to hold its next public hearing on Tuesday, where testimony from former Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone "will play a central role,” according to panel members.
Cipollone, who resisted previous calls to testify under oath before the bipartisan panel, agreed to be deposed last week, sitting with investigators for eight hours on Friday in a closed-door session.
The nine-member panel, in a statement issued Sunday, said Cipollone provided investigators with “critical testimony on nearly every major topic in its investigation, reinforcing key points regarding Donald Trump’s misconduct, and providing highly relevant new information that will play a central role in" upcoming hearings.
Members of the panel, appearing on the Sunday morning political talk shows, said Cipollone corroborated the testimony of other White House aides, including Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson testified last month before the committee took a two-week break.
Hutchinson testified that White House lawyers had raised serious concerns about Trump’s efforts to pressure state lawmakers, Department of Justice officials, and members of Congress to stop the certification of 2020 election results.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a member of the select committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Cipollone confirmed “concerns that he did have,” and his “reservations about some of the things that were happening.”
“He made very clear that he took the side of many of the folks that you’ve already seen come before the committee, and was asserting that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the election was not free and fair,” Murphy said.