Bannon in the Chair


A few interesting things to note about Bannon’s House testimony today, as described by Axios. Having started by saying he wouldn’t answer any questions about events during the transition or his time in the White House, Bannon flubbed and did discuss a key event: a conversation with Priebus, Spicer et al. about the Don Jr./Trump Tower meeting. Accident? That indisciplined? (The idea that privilege applies to the transition seems to be a complete nonstarter.)

In other settings, that can lose you the whole privilege. I’m not sure it’s the same in this case, either de jure or de facto. But it ain’t great.

Also note that during the testimony Bannon apparently attacked the Republicans for allowing the Trump/Russia probes to happen at all, arguing they were no more than ‘establishment’ efforts to overturn the election. That seems like a caution to anyone who thinks Bannon is going to go rogue on Trump just because Trump went to war with Bannon.

Finally, at least as portrayed by Axios, Trey Gowdy seemed interested in actually pressing Bannon with real questions and not just providing cover for the White House. I find that notable. (This is consistent with our reporting that Bannon’s presence and actions before the committee led to some rare moments of bipartisan agreement.)

If you haven’t seen it, read Tierney Sneed’s further background (Prime access) on the back and forth during the closed hearing between Bannon’s lawyer and the White House.

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