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House Panel to Interview Bannon        01/16 06:21

   The House Intelligence Committee is poised to question Steve Bannon, the 
onetime confidant to President Donald Trump, following his spectacular fall 
from power after accusing the president's son and others of "treasonous" 
behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Intelligence Committee is poised to question 
Steve Bannon, the onetime confidant to President Donald Trump, following his 
spectacular fall from power after accusing the president's son and others of 
"treasonous" behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 
campaign.

   Bannon is scheduled to testify before the panel on Tuesday, according to a 
person familiar with the committee's plans. The person was not authorized to 
discuss private committee deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

   The testimony comes just one week after a very public excommunication from 
Trump's closest confines following the publication of Michael Wolff's "Fire and 
Fury." In the book, Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former 
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of "treasonous" behavior for meeting with 
a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer 
"dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

   More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather 
to Manafort.  Wolff contends the reverse.

   After the book's release, Trump quickly disavowed "Sloppy Steve Bannon" and 
argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential 
campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bannon 
apologized a few days later, but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump 
news site Breitbart News.

   Bannon last year had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional 
investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure 
interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security 
adviser Michael Flynn.

   But Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential 
transition and the White House --- all during times now under scrutiny from 
congressional investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection 
between Trump's operations and Russia.

   Bannon recently retained the same lawyer being used by former Trump chief of 
staff Reince Priebus and White House general counsel Don McGahn. Neither Bannon 
nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment on Monday.

   The House Intelligence Committee is speeding toward a conclusion of its 
interviews in its Russia investigation. The final result could be marred by 
partisan infighting, which has some members discussing the probability that 
Republicans on the panel will issue one set of findings and the Democrats will 
issue their own report.


(KA)

 
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