Steve Bannon agrees to give evidence to January 6 committee

House committee expected to hold two public hearings focusing on Donald Trump's actions on day of insurrection

Steve Bannon, talk show host and former White House adviser to former president Donald Trump, will give evidence to the hearing investigating the attack on the Capitol. Reuters
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Donald Trump's former right-hand man Steve Bannon has agreed to testify before the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol January 6, 2021, adding more drama to a week poised for climactic public hearings.

Mr Trump has scorned the January 6 committee, which on Tuesday will reveal how the former president encouraged right-wing extremist groups to storm the Capitol. Thursday's expected prime-time hearing will examine Mr Trump's actions between the start of the riot and when he told his supporters to go home.

Mr Bannon was charged with contempt of Congress for previously refusing to give evidence, setting up a trial start date for July 18.

Memorable quotes from January 6 committee hearings - in pictures

Panel members believe Mr Bannon and other advisers to Mr Trump could have information on links between the White House and the mob on the day that Congress was due to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Lawyers for Mr Bannon had previously claimed that because he was protected by executive privilege he did not have to co-operate with the committee, even though he was not a White House official at the time of the riot.

Mr Trump's withdrawal of a claim of executive privilege to shield Mr Bannon means the former adviser could now provide revelations between him and the former president — or he could stonewall the committee.

Mr Bannon’s reversal of his refusal to testify was outlined in a letter from his lawyer Robert Costello to Bennie Thompson, US representative and committee chairman, late on Saturday.

“Mr Bannon is willing to, and indeed prefers, to testify at your public hearing,” it said.

Zoe Lofgren, US representative and January 6 committee member, said it was unlikely Mr Bannon would give evidence at a public hearing.

“Ordinarily we do depositions,” Ms Lofgren told CNN’s State of the Union. “We want to get all our questions answered and you can’t do that in a live format.”

Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the committee, said Thursday's hearing would focus on Mr Trump's actions between the start of the assault on the Capitol and until he tweeted, asking his supporters to go home.

“The president obviously had to have known there was an insurrection,” Mr Kinzinger said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “So where was he? What was he doing? It’s a very important hearing. Pay attention.”

Bloomberg contributed to this report

Updated: July 11, 2022, 3:00 PM