Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon finally appeared before the House Intelligence Committee after postponing several times, but Committee members weren't satisfied with what he had to say, according to NBC News. Mueller has been conducting a criminal investigation of possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election.
The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move meant to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Bannon, who did not respond to questions from reporters, was appearing before the panel under a subpoena after he told the panel that White House lawyers wouldn't let him answer certain questions.
The person, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said Bannon answered every question that was put to him by Mueller's team.
Declining to discuss the weeks after the November 2016 presidential election and before Trump's inauguration, or his own time at the White House, Bannon claimed executive privilege and special protections for presidential communications in refusing to say more, the two lawmakers said.
"He would not go beyond those questions in any of his answers, and that's frustrating to those of us on the committee, so we have further steps to take and we'll be taking those", Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, the Republican who has led the committee's Russian Federation investigation since Chairman Devin Nunes stepped aside, told reporters after the interview.
"That's not how privilege works", Schiff said.
Bannon's initial appearance before the committee came on January 17 and was interrupted several times.
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Bannon's legal team has indicated willingness to answer Mueller's questions, infuriating lawmakers from both parties even further. Bannon had been a close Trump associate since he joined the Trump campaign and helped the political novice defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
The probe began in May 2017 to investigate any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.
Instead, they witnessed collusion between Bannon and the White House. "We did not ask him to come in to answer questions about his time as a private citizen - so I think that's clearly a difference between him and Steve Bannon".
Bannon met with the investigators for a total of about 20 hours.
"We have to hold him in contempt" if he fails to show up, one GOP source said.
Reuters reported last week that Bannon was expected to meet with Mueller this week. "When we asked the question, 'Did you talk with 'X?,' the answer was yes". Schiff said, adding that the answer was no.
Conaway described "a little frustration" among committee members and said he intends to review the mechanics of a contempt citation, including whether it will require the committee to vote or can simply be raised on the House floor.