Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Trump's associates and Russian Federation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
News of the subpeona came as Mr Bannon, who served as the Trump campaign director before his seven-month stint as chief strategist, testified before the House Intelligence Committee, which is also probing the campaign's ties to Russian Federation. The outlet writes in its report that Bannon might not be the central focus on the investigation, and the subpoena is most likely a tactic Mueller is using to get Bannon to bypass the typical grand jury appearance.
In his testimony with the House Intelligence Committee earlier in the day, the former counselor and campaign chair refused to answer questions about conversations between him and Trump, citing executive privilege.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly says the administration was not in contact with Bannon or his attorney, but Swalwell suggested the White House was lying about those communications.
The developments brought to the forefront questions about White House efforts to control what current and former aides tell Congress about their time in Mr Trump's inner circle, and whether Republicans on Capitol Hill would force the issue.
Axios said executive privilege probably wouldn't apply to the Mueller interview, because Mueller is working for the executive branch.
He appeared before a separate US House of Representatives committee studying Russian links yesterday.
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Trump has also publicly threatened to sue Bannon for defamation for his comments in Fire and Fury.
On Tuesday Bannon spent 10 hours testifying behind closed doors in front of the House Intelligence Committee.
Trump blasted Bannon for his comments about his son and other family members, including daughter Ivanka, calling him "Sloppy Steve" on Twitter.
Bannon was a close adviser during Trump's campaign and in his first months in office, before leaving the White House job by what was said to be mutual agreement in August.
"Sometimes they actually have a White House attorney present in the room", she said.