Trump's ex-aide Bannon strikes deal to avoid grand jury testimony: CNN

Steve Bannon during a campaign rally for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for Senate from Alabama in Fairhope, Alabama, on Dec. 5, 2017. (Bloomberg file photo by Nicole Craine)
Steve Bannon during a campaign rally for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for Senate from Alabama in Fairhope, Alabama, on Dec. 5, 2017. (Bloomberg file photo by Nicole Craine)

WASHINGTON — Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has struck a deal to be interviewed by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team rather than appearing before a grand jury, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing sources close to Bannon.

Bannon had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and any ties with President Donald Trump’s campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment on the CNN report. A lawyer who represented Bannon in an appearance before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Tuesday could not be immediately reached.

Bannon was a close adviser during Trump’s campaign and in his first months in office, but he was fired from his White House job in August as the president sought to bring more order to his staff operations.

Earlier this month, Trump attacked Bannon for comments he made to the author of a book highly critical of the president and his family. They included scathing remarks about Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, for meeting during the campaign with a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mueller is investigating allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign to try to tip the vote in Trump’s favor, as well as any potential collusion by Trump’s campaign with Moscow. Russia denies any attempt to interfere and Trump has denied any collusion.

According to a person familiar with the arrangement, the attorney who represented Bannon for Tuesday’s House appearance, William Burck, is not representing him in connection with Mueller’s investigation. The person did not believe Bannon had hired a counsel for that yet.

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