Bannon Calls Russia’s Probe Effort to “Decertify the Last Election”

While testifying on Tuesday, Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, condemned the investigation into Russia’s interference in 2016 election as a deliberate process meant to delegitimize Trump’s election.

Tom Rooney, the Republican Representative for Florida and one of the top Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with Politico that Bannon made his remarks on the investigation during the testimony which lasted more than ten hours.

According to Rooney, the former Trump strategist blasted the committee’s investigation as an attempt to “decertify the last election.”

“I would have to consider whether or not to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer some of the committee’s questions,” Rooney said.

After Bannon declined to answer some questions during his testimony he was given a subpoena.

The Hill reports that multiple said Bannon had indicated to lawmakers that he would answer questions about the Trump campaign, but not about his work on the transition team or in the White House. Bannon, alongside his lawyer, said he would only answer those questions when he speaks to special counsel Robert Mueller. That stance infuriated lawmakers. Sources described the meeting as a “total free-for-all” and “brutal.”

According to The Associated Press, Bannon’s attorney, Bill Burck, was communicating with the White House counsel’s office via phone during Bannon’s testimony to check on whether it would allow Bannon to answer certain questions.

The top Democrat on the committee, California Representative Adam Schiff, reported that the whole effort to get the needed answers was a “gag order by the White House,” and said Bannon “was instructed by the White House to refuse again to answer any questions concerning the time during the transition and his time in the administration.”

Meanwhile, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, said on Wednesday that the White House did not instruct Bannon to invoke executive privilege and refuse to answer questions during the meeting.

Mueller has also issued a subpoena to Bannon, who apparently, agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s team.

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