The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski may face subpoenas if they keep refusing to answer lawmakers’ questions.
In a statement, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Bannon’s lawyers have told House Intelligence that the White House will not allow him to answer questions stemming from his time on Trump’s transition team or about his work during and after his time in the administration.
“[T]he White House has limited his testimony to a set of fourteen yes-or-no questions they pre-approved,” Schiff said. “At no point has the president invoked executive privilege.”
Bannon, who has also been subpoenaed as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and is expected to interview with him next week, was supposed to appear before the committee on Tuesday after failing to answer lawmakers’ questions behind closed doors last month. During that testimony, he was subpoenaed mid-hearing for his refusal to answer questions and said he would return.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told reporters Tuesday that the deadline for Bannon to comply with the aforementioned subpoena had been extended a week, the third such extension offered to Bannon.
Now, Schiff is indicating Bannon could be held in contempt.
Lewandowski could also be subpoenaed after his counsel told House Intelligence he will not reappear to testify any further “despite an earlier pledge to do so.”
“Neither Bannon nor Lewandowski have articulated legitimate grounds for refusing to appear and answer questions before Congress, and we fully expect them to return,” Schiff said. “It will therefore be necessary for our committee to enforce the subpoena on Bannon, and now move to compel Lewandowski’s testimony, among other outstanding steps needed to advance the investigation.”
Last month, Schiff blasted Lewandowski for being “unprepared” for questioning before the committee the first time, and said he would soon return.