White House chief of staff John Kelly said the Trump administration did not instruct former chief strategist Steve Bannon to invoke executive privilege to prevent him from discussing certain topics with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
"No," was Kelly's response when asked by Fox News' Bret Baier during an interview Wednesday evening.
Kelly's answer is more direct than that provided to reporters by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders earlier in the day.
During the press briefing, she declined to discuss in detail instructions to Bannon's legal team regarding what material may be protected by executive privilege, but said "the same process and past practice" is being followed regarding the testimony of former White House employees testifying before Congress.
"I'm talking about the process, I can't go any further than that," she added.
Sanders did confirm Wednesday that Bannon's attorney shared the questions he was asked during the closed-door hearing.
Kelly said Bannon has had "very little contact with the White House since he left." Bannon parted ways with the Trump administration last August.
"I know Steve a little bit, not very well," Kelly said, adding that Bannon "certainly" has not returned to the White House since his departure, though he was certain there were a few phone calls.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, complained Tuesday that the White House had issued a “gag order” on Bannon during its 10-hour interview that is part of its Russia inquiry earlier that day.
Bannon declined to answer questions regarding his tenure in the White House or his work during the presidential transition, the California Democrat told MSNBC.