Former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the special counsel investigation into alleged ties between United States President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, reported U.S. media on Tuesday.
Reports indicate that ex-White House strategist Mr. Bannon, who appears to have recently fallen out of favor with the president, was issued the subpoena by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who leads the Trump-Russia investigation.
Separately, Bannon appeared in front of a Congressional panel in regards to the allegations on Tuesday, as part of the U.S. legislature’s own investigation into the alleged ties.
Mueller was appointed special counsel on May 17 of last year by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate possible collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential election campaign and Russian influence on voters.
The New York Times was first to report the subpoena, noting that it was the first time a member of Trump’s inner circle had one issued to them.
The drastic move to carry out the legal action in contrast to other government officials interviewed by the special counsel last year could be a negotiating tactic, according to the newspaper, citing a source close to the relevant parties.
The subpoena was issued following the release of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, an expose published on Jan. 5 by contentious journalist author Michael Wolff that included comments by Bannon on Russia and a special counsel prediction.
Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial meeting with Russians in 2016, which was reported to include Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner, was described by Bannon as “treasonous” in Wolff’s book.
The former adviser also predicted that Mueller’s investigation would focus on money laundering.
Following the comments released as excerpts before its full release, Trump denounced Bannon and threatened legal action over defamation, with Bannon soon after losing his position as the executive chairman at far-right Breitbart News.
More details to follow. Image of Steve Bannon from QZ.