The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Friday it’s likely that Steve Bannon will be held in contempt of Congress after refusing to answer questions before the panel, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“I think it’s likely that he will face a contempt citation,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said at a Council on Foreign Relations event.
The former White House chief strategist declined Thursday to answer a wide array of key questions pertinent to the Russia investigation, telling the panel he was instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of President Donald Trump.
According to Schiff, Bannon would only answer 25 questions authorized by the White House and answered “no” to all of them.
“I think there really is no choice for our committee but to move forward with contempt,” Schiff said Friday.
He added, “I suspect that Mr. Bannon has been informed that (the White House) will only stonewall so far. They will never allow him to be fined or go to jail, but they do wish to draw the process as long as they can.”
Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican who runs the panel’s Russia investigation, said Thursday he would discuss how to proceed with House Speaker Paul Ryan and House lawyers about the scope of executive privilege sought by the White House. He declined to say whether Bannon should be held in contempt of Congress, a process that could lead to months of legal wrangling.
CNN’s David Siegel, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Kara Scannell contributed to this report.