Steve Bannon subpoenaed by Mueller

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives for an interview by the House intelligence committee investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday

Mr. Mueller is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel's offices about ties between Mr. Trump's associates and Russian Federation and about the president's conduct in office, according to the person, who would not be named discussing the case.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that the White House was not concerned with what Bannon might say to Congress or special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Bannon also said he assumed Trump Jr. delivered information about the meeting to Trump, despite denials from the two, and downplayed the likelihood of illegal coordination with Russian Federation while saying there was dread that Mueller's investigation could turn up something else nefarious, such as money laundering.

Schiff said an attorney for Bannon consulted with the White House after the committee subpoena was served Tuesday and was told his client was still not to answer questions regarding the time during the transition and in the White House.

"He's quoted in "Fire and Fury" calling Trump's son, Don Jr., 'treasonous", and "unpatriotic" for taking a meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

In the event that Bannon testifies before a grand jury, without his attorney present, "it will be easier to catch Bannon off-guard and receive truthful answers", Mariotti added. But she did not say whether the White House directed Bannon not to answer certain questions.

The subpoena may have been a negotiating tactic to convince Mr Bannon to sit down with Mr Mueller for a less-formal interview in the special counsel's offices, legal experts said.

It was the first time Mueller is known to have used a subpoena against a member of Trump's inner circle, the Times said.

Russian Federation has denied meddling in the election and Trump has denied there was any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Prosecutors generally prefer to interview witnesses before a grand jury when they believe they have information that the witnesses do not know, or when they think they might catch the witnesses in a lie.

The White House doctor has declared that President Donald Trump is in good mental health.

"This was effectively a gag order by the White House preventing this witness from answering nearly any question concerning his time in the transition or the administration", Schiff said.

"We know from the Erik Prince testimony...that [Prince] had a meeting with Steve Bannon before he made that trip to the Seychelles traveling halfway around the world to have what he described essentially as a coincidental meeting with a Russian in a bar", Schiff said.

Mr Bannon appeared separately on Tuesday before a Congressional panel.

Conaway also stressed that Bannon is not in a position to invoke executive privilege himself.

But Bannon refused to answer questions about that crucial period, and as a result, the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., issued the subpoena, spokesman Jack Langer said. But it was not clear why Mr. Mueller treated Mr. Bannon differently from the dozen administration officials who were interviewed in the final months of a year ago and were never served with a subpoena.

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