Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon informed the Jan. 6 committee that he is willing to testify after receiving a letter from former President Donald Trump telling him he will waive his executive privilege.
Bannon, who is set to go on trial for criminal contempt charges later this month for defying a prior subpoena by the committee, also indicated he would like to testify publicly, according to a letter from his lawyer Bob Costello obtained by CNN.
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“While Mr. Bannon has been steadfast in his convictions, circumstances have now changed,” Costello wrote. “Mr. Bannon is willing to, and indeed prefers, to testify at your public hearing.”
In a letter to Bannon on Saturday, Trump said that he was waiving executive privilege after seeing “how unfairly you and others have been treated.”
“When you first received the Subpoena to testify and provide documents, I invoked Executive Privilege. However, I watched how unfairly you and others have been treated, having to spend vast amounts of money on legal fees, and all of the trauma you must be going through for the love of your Country, and out of respect for the Office of the President,” Trump wrote, according to the outlet.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a member of the committee, acknowledged that the panel had received the letter from Bannon’s lawyer around midnight but said the committee hasn’t had “the chance to discuss it.”
Lofgren did, however, indicate that the committee would likely seek a private deposition.
“Ordinarily, we do depositions. This goes on for hour after hour after hour. We want to get all our questions answered. And you can’t do that in a live format,” Lofgren said.
Bannon is facing two contempt of Congress charges for failing to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee last year after insisting that Trump’s executive privilege claim barred him from complying. Federal prosecutors have disputed the argument, citing that Bannon was not a member of the Trump administration at the time of the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.
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Bannon’s trial is slated to begin on July 18.