The God-King is claiming executive privilege to silence Steve Bannon. Good luck with that…. (More)

“Only Steve Bannon could unite this committee”

Both special counsel Robert Mueller and the House Intelligence Committee have now issued subpoenas:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office has subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon to appear before a grand jury, a move that indicates his broad investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign is far from wrapping up.

The subpoena was issued last week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who said that Bannon expects to be able to persuade the special counsel’s office to accept a voluntary interview of Bannon by prosecutors in place of a grand jury appearance.

The news of Mueller’s action, which was first reported by the New York Times, came on the same day that the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to Bannon for refusing to answer a range of questions from investigators during a combative closed-door interview, frustrating members of both parties who are probing the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties.

“Only Steve Bannon could unite this committee,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).

Predictably, the God-King is claiming executive privilege. That may cover conversations and documents involving Bannon’s brief tenure as a White House strategist and chief counsel. But executive privilege doesn’t extend to conversations or documents from before the God-King’s inauguration – such as when Bannon was the God-King’s campaign director – or to Bannon’s contacts since he left the White House.

And the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reports that Bannon knows he’ll have to talk to Mueller and the grand jury:

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon broke some bad news to House investigators Tuesday, announcing that the White House had invoked executive privilege to keep him from answering many of their questions.

But executive privilege – the president’s right to keep certain information from the public so he can have frank conversations with aides – will not keep Steve Bannon from sharing information with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, according to a person familiar with the situation.

“Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say,” said the source, who is familiar with Bannon’s thinking.

Bannon may also face contempt of Congress charges:

[House Intelligence Committee investigation leader Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)] said the subpoena for documents and testimony remains in effect and the committee expects to seek answers to its remaining questions.

Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the committee, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Conaway made a determination that the “expansive claim of executive privilege doesn’t apply,” and said that Bannon puts himself at risk of contempt of Congress if he doesn’t answer questions.

“There was a great deal of consternation on both sides of the aisle,” Himes said. “I am glad to say that members of both parties really pushed back hard against this unprecedented claim.”

The Outhouse Sewer Spewer said Congress must ask the God-King’s permission to question Bannon, but that’s not how it works:

Earlier on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said “no one” had encouraged Bannon not to be transparent during questioning but there’s a “process of what that looks like.”

“As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House,” she told reporters, “Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material. This is part of a judicially recognized process that goes back decades.”

However, the supreme court has made clear that giving the president “an absolute privilege” against a subpoena “on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government.’”

The Republican Mike Conaway of Texas insisted to reporters that “this witness is not an executive” and felt confident that Bannon would eventually testify in full. “There were questions that we asked that were not answered and we are going to resolve the issues to get the answers.”

Yet again, someone – probably a federal court – will have to tell the God-King that he can’t simply order government employees to stonewall Congress and federal investigators. He still doesn’t grasp that the U.S. government is not a Trump-owned business.


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