Steve Bannon’s lawyers have written a letter to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol stating he will not produce documents for subpoenas, citing Donald Trump‘s claim of executive privilege.
The defense team for Bannon, one of a number of the former president’s allies who have been subpoenaed by the panel in connection with the insurrection, has denied that Bannon’s position is “in defiance” of the subpoena but rather following Trump’s directions not to respond.
Bannon was instructed to appear at depositions on Thursday after being subpoenaed in September along with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino.
On October 8, the House select committee confirmed that while Meadows and Patel were co-operating with the committee, Bannon indicated that he would “try to hide behind vague references to privileges” of the former president.
In a letter to the committee chairman Representative Bennie Thompson, obtained by ABC News, Bannon’s counsel Robert Costello wrote: “Bannon’s position is not in defiance of your Committee’s subpoena.
“Rather, Mr Bannon noted that President Trump’s counsel stated that they were invoking executive and other privileges and therefore directed us not to produce documents or give testimony that might reveal information President Trump’s counsel seeks to legally protect.”
The letter added that Jeffrey Clark, a former Department of Justice official who is the latest Trump ally to be subpoenaed by the committee over claims he sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election, also said that Trump is exercising his executive privilege and directed Bannon not to produce documents or testify until the issue is resolved.
“Until such time as you reach an agreement with President Trump or receive a court ruling as to the extent, scope and application of the executive privilege, in order to preserve the claim of executive and other privileges, Mr Bannon will not be producing documents or testifying,” Costello added.
“As noted previously, Mr Bannon will revisit his position if President Trump’s position changes or if a court rules on this matter.”
On Wednesday, the White House published a letter to the National Archives in which President Joe Biden urged the agency to comply with the House select committee’s request for the records, adding that he “does not uphold the former President’s assertion of privilege.”
The letter, from White House Counsel Dana Remus to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, added: “In light of the urgency of the Select Committee’s need for the information, the President further instructs you to provide those pages 30 days after your notification to the former President, absent any intervening court order.”
Representative Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the panel investigating the January 6 attack, warned that the committee could push for criminal charges against those who don’t comply with its subpoenas, Reuters reported.
The House Select committee has been contacted for comment.