Bannon retains counsel, expected on the Hill next week

Bannon retains counsel, expected on the Hill next week
Steve Bannon speaks at a rally for Roy Moore on Dec. 5, 2017.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has retained a top Washington lawyer to represent him in his closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee expected next week, a source confirmed to CNN.

William Burck, a former White House special counsel during the George W. Bush administration and a former federal prosecutor, is helping Bannon prepare for questions from the House panel about the presidential campaign, this source said. Burck is not representing Bannon before special counsel Robert Mueller or inquiries relating to Bannon’s work during the transition or days in the White House, according to the source.

Burck is also representing White House Counsel Don McGahn and Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff to President Donald Trump, in Mueller’s investigation. The hiring of Burck was first reported by the Daily Beast.

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to interview Bannon behind closed doors next week, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on House Intelligence, told reporters Thursday that “it’s my expectation” Bannon will meet with his panel, but declined to specify when.

Bannon has been on the committee’s witness list, but the committee’s Democrats are particularly interested in speaking to the President’s former chief strategist in light of his comments in the Michael Wolff book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” about alleged money laundering and calling the 2016 Trump Tower meeting “treasonous.” CNN has not independently verified all the assertions in Wolff’s book.

Bannon is of interest to House investigators for his time working on the Trump campaign. He joined in August 2016 as chief executive with the backing of the Mercer family and after Trump secured the Republican nomination. He was also on the board of Cambridge Analytica, the data analysis firm, later used by the campaign. Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica testified via video conference before the House intelligence panel in December, sources previously told CNN.

Bannon was also the recipient of an email Donald Trump Jr. sent to a group of senior Trump campaign officials notifying them that WikiLeaks had reached out, according to The Atlantic. The email was also sent to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Brad Parscale, who ran the campaign’s data operation. Kushner also forwarded the email to Hope Hicks, the communications aide who is now White House communications director, according to The Atlantic.

Bannon left the White House last summer. He remained an ally of Trump through the fall but their relationship fractured following the publication of “Fire and Fury.”

Bannon issued a statement Sunday expressing regret: “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.

He added, “Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man.”

The fallout for Bannon has been swift. He was ousted this week from Brietbart News.