Yesterday the New York Times reported that Steve Bannon has received a Grand Jury Subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This revelation, along with Steve Bannon’s combative testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee yesterday and a report that Bannon allowed FBI Agents into his home yesterday leaves Americans wondering what Bannon will ultimately tell Robert Mueller’s team.
A source close to Bannon (likely Bannon himself) told Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast that Bannon will “tell-all” to Robert Mueller. Bannon attempted to invoke Executive Privilege to the House Intel Committee yesterday when asked about his time in the White House and conversations with the President. The attempted use of Executive Privilege didn’t work, as the Committee subpoenaed answers from him on-the-spot.
According to a source close to Steve Bannon, “This sweeping understanding of privilege will not affect what Bannon tells Mueller’s team”. Bannon will likely end up speaking testifying under oath to Mueller’s team by the end of the month. This move to speak voluntarily to Robert Mueller will allow him to avoid an interview in front of a grand jury, in which case he would not have access to legal counsel.
In May 2017, Joe Scarborough warned that Bannon told him that “damaging info” would be coming out soon against President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. Days later, the New York Times released a report about a meeting between Jared Kushner and the Chairman of Vnesheconombank, Russian Financier Sergey Gorkov. The Times reported that Federal Investigators were looking into what the two wanted from each other, if anything. Vnesheconombank is believed to be deeply tied to Russian Intelligence and is currently under sanction by the United States. Bannon’s knowledge of the particulars of this meeting is likely to be the subject of scrutiny during Bannon’s testimony in front of Robert Mueller.
Steve Bannon is quoted in Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, as saying “You realise where this is going,” he is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew Weissmann] first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.” Yesterday, Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee that he “exaggerated” frequently when speaking to Michael Wolff. Exaggeration or not, Bannon’s knowledge, suspicion and speculation about any money laundering on the part of Jared Kushner or other members of the administration and/or campaign are likely to be another subject of Mueller’s questioning.
Bannon’s testimony will be the first that Rober Mueller has compelled with a Subpoena. Thus far, Mueller has interviewed Trump aides and associates in informal settings that were voluntarily negotiated. This signals that Mueller is willing to use particularly aggressive tactics to extract information from Bannon about his knowledge of any wrongdoing that may have taken place during his time with the campaign, the transition or in the White House.