Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is now expected to testify before the Jan. 6 Committee, after former President Donald Trump waived executive privilege and gave Bannon the go-ahead to testify.
Bannon was subpoenaed by the House committee in September 2021, and subsequently held in criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to testify before the partisan commission. The former strategist and counselor under the Trump administration was then indicted on two criminal contempt charges in November.
In a letter sent Saturday, Trump told Bannon that he would waive executive privilege — the right of the president and top officials to maintain confidential communication and resist some subpoenas — and allow Bannon to testify before the House Committee.
“When you first received the Subpoena to testify and provide documents, I invoked executive privilege,” Trump wrote. “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 President.”
“Therefore,” Trump continued, “if you reach an agreement on a time and place for your testimony, I will waive Executive Privilege for you, which allows for you to go in and testify truthfully and fairly.”
Trump went on to slam the committee as a “partisan Kangaroo Court” and an “Unselect Committee of political Thugs and Hacks.”
It’s not yet known when Bannon will appear before the committee or whether his testimony will take place publicly or behind closed doors, but the former White House strategist has indicated he is “willing” to comply with either format. Some critics of the commission have expressed their hope that the deposition occur live, pointing to times when the committee has selectively released evidence to produce a misleading narrative.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), one of the members of the Jan. 6 Committee, has hinted that Bannon’s appearance may be more likely to take place behind closed doors.
“We want to get all our questions answered, and you can’t do that in a live format,” Lofgren said in an interview with CNN.