Steve Bannon appeared before the House Intelligence Committee today to testify about Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, just as news broke today that Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Bannon a week ago to testify before an upcoming Trump-Russia grand jury (link). Now comes word that Bannon more or less tanked his testimony today on purpose, refusing to answer key questions (link). Believe it or not, all of these pieces fit together – and they all point to Bannon having already cut a deal with Mueller.
For months, the Republicans on the House Intel Committee have been using their sham of a Trump-Russia investigation for the primary purpose of trying to sabotage the legitimate Trump-Russia investigations. We’ve seen this play out repeatedly with the antics of committee chair Devin Nunes and his sidekick Trey Gowdy. House Intel was trying to get to Bannon today before Mueller could, so it could muddy the waters. If Bannon had fully cooperated, it would have been a sign that Bannon is still on Team Trump. Instead, his lack of cooperation tells us the opposite.
Bannon refused to play ball with House Intel today because he’s saving his most important testimony for Mueller. In fact, Mueller likely subpoenaed Bannon in order to give him some degree of legal cover for refusing answer House Intel questions, as potentially cover against any civil lawsuits Trump might file against Bannon in retaliation. If you’re looking for further confirmation of all of this, look no further than what the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Trump-Russia, recently told us about Bannon.
On January 3rd, Senate Intel Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat, appeared on MSNBC’s Meet The Press Daily. He was asked why his committee hasn’t yet interviewed Steve Bannon about the Trump-Russia scandal. He simply smiled and declined to answer. He was then asked if he wants Bannon to testify. He once again declined to answer. Warner’s only possible reason for dodging the notion of Bannon testifying before his committee is that Bannon had already cut a deal with Mueller, and Warner didn’t want to muddy that process by hauling Bannon before his committee.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report