The attorney for former White House political strategist Steve Bannon relayed the questions his client was being asked during Tuesday’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee back to officials at the Trump White House — and he was instructed to not answer them.
The Associated Press reports that Bannon’s attorney, Bill Burk, “relayed questions, in real time” to the Trump White House, who in turn instructed Bannon to not answer any questions about things that happened both during the presidential transition in late 2016, or about his time within the White House.
“It’s unclear who Burck communicated with or whether it was top White House lawyer Don McGahn,” the AP writes. “Burck is also representing McGahn in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) claimed Tuesday that Bannon’s attorney contacted the White House after the committee subpoenaed him.
“This was effectively a gag order by the White House,” Schiff said.
In a related story, sources tell CNBC that the White House believed that it had a deal with Congressional investigators to limit the scope of questioning to Bannon to only events that took place during the 2016 presidential campaign — not during the transition or the Trump presidency.
“We said ‘Hey, hey, pump the brakes,'” one White House official said. “We said to Bannon, ‘Don’t answer those questions because we haven’t agreed to that scope under the process.'”