Bannon’s ‘Accidental’ Slip Up Revealed Critical Information About Trump-Russia Meeting During Testimony: Report
During his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly made one conspicuous slip up that revealed inside information about the infamous Trump-Russia meeting and put Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer in the spotlight.
Bannon told lawmakers that “he’d had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Don Junior’s infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016,” sources with knowledge of the matter told Axios.
This was a key mistake, and sources say that both Republicans and Democrats hammered Bannon for admitting to having these conversations during his time in the White House and then quickly clamming up when asked follow-up questions about them.
As Axios’ reporter Jonathan Swan notes, this is critical information as the meeting — and the subsequent drafting of a misleading statement on Air Force One — has become one of the most important focal points of the Russia investigations, both on Capitol Hill and within Robert Mueller’s team, because it provides the closest thing that exists to evidence that the Trump campaign was willing to entertain collusion with Russians.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Democrat Adam Schiff hammered Bannon over the fact that he’d mentioned those conversations but refused to discuss anything else about his time in the White House.
Gowdy was particularly aggressive with Bannon and grilled him about his description of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian officials in Trump Tower as “treasonous.”
As reported by Axios:
“Gowdy asked Bannon whether he would consider it treason for somebody close to him to approach Wikileaks’ Julian Assange to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Bannon replied that such a scenario would be bad judgment. Then Gowdy produced emails from a Cambridge Analytica employee — the Trump campaign data firm closely affiliated with Bannon — boasting of just such contacts with Assange.”
Bannon’s lawyer, Bill Burck, told the committee in his opening remarks that Bannon wouldn’t answer any questions that relate to his time inside the White House or during the presidential transition. The committee caught him in the slip-up inside the first 90 minutes.