Steve Bannon, a former top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury as part of a special counsel's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The New York Times, which cited a person with direct knowledge of the matter in its report, said it marked the first time Special Counsel Robert Mueller has used such a move against a member of Trump's inner circle.
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment on the report.
Also Tuesday, Bannon arrived for his interview before the House Intelligence Committee. His interview follows his spectacular fall from power after being quoted in a book that he sees the president's son and others as engaging in "treasonous" behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign.
In Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury," Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather to Manafort. Wolff stands by his account.
After the book's release, Trump quickly disavowed "Sloppy" Steve Bannon and argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bannon apologized a few days later, but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News.
Bannon last year had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
But Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential transition and the White House — all during times now under scrutiny from congressional investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection between Trumps operations and Russia.
Bannon recently retained the same lawyer being used by former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House general counsel Don McGahn. Neither Bannon nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment on Monday.
The House Intelligence Committee is speeding toward a conclusion of its interviews in its Russia investigation. The final result could be marred by partisan infighting, raising the probability that Republicans on the panel will issue one set of findings and the Democrats will issue their own report.
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