The New York Times just discovered that a subpoena has been issued for former chief strategist Steve Bannon. This marks the first time that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena in the Russia collusion investigation.
The Times says that a person with “direct knowledge” informed them that Bannon may be able to avoid the grand jury if he’s willing to answer questions in another setting.
The special counsel’s office has not been answering questions on the development.
This news comes after Bannon answered questions from the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
There’s a lot of hope among Democrats that the current feud between Trump and Bannon leads Bannon to unveil information he would otherwise have kept to himself. Trump has been attacking Bannon following comments that were made in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Trump now calls Bannon “Sloppy Steve.”
Bannon has already referred to a Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous.” It’s unclear if Bannon knows more details about the meeting and whether that will be disclosed during the grand jury questioning.
According to Solomon L. Wisenberg, who investigated Bill Clinton, this subpoena may be a way to help Bannon go after Trump. “By forcing someone to testify through a subpoena, you are providing the witness with cover because they can say, ‘I had no choice — I had to go in and testify about everything I knew,’” he said.
Here are some of the reactions from Twitter:
NEW YORK TIMES: Steve Bannon subpoenaed by the special counsel to testify before a grand jury. The move marks the first time Mueller used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. THIS INVESTIGATION IS HEATING UP! 🔥
— Ryan Knight, PROUD RESISTER 👊 (@ProudResister) January 16, 2018
THREAD: Why did Mueller subpoena Bannon to testify before the grand jury? How is that different from an informal interview with investigators? (Short answer: He likely wants to question Bannon without Bannon's attorney present.) https://t.co/b0hS0YmzPZ
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 16, 2018
Mueller issued the subpoena *after* Bannon was quoted #FireAndFury‼️🤣
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) January 16, 2018
Steve Bannon must be proud to receive both the first subpoena of the #TrumpRussia probe and a chance to explain exactly what Don Jr. was doing that was so treasonous, or what Paul Manfort did that was treasonous.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) January 16, 2018