House intel panel leaders: Bannon refuses to answer many queries

22 2017 shows President Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon in Washington

The dispute now is for the White House and House panel to resolve, a person close to Bannon said Thursday.

Lawmakers are reportedly indicating that Bannon should be held in contempt of Congress is he fails to show up for his interview once again.

But House members from both parties have so far rejected that broad interpretation of executive privilege, raising the stakes for Bannon's standoff with Congress.

CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju tweeted that Mr Bannon had been advised by President Trump to invoke executive privilege, a prerogative allowing him to withhold information. The others include White House communications director Hope Hicks as well as Corey Lewandowski, the President's former campaign manager, who told the panel in his testimony last month that he wasn't prepared to answer questions about matters after he was dismissed from the campaign in June 2016. He was sacked from the White House last summer, and more recently had a falling out with President Trump after the January publication of a book in which he sharply criticized President Trump family members.

Steve Bannon is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about the Russian Federation investigation Thursday.

When asked if he was personally ready to issue a contempt citation for Bannon, Conaway said only: "I think he should answer our questions". He said Bannon was given an opportunity to provide a reason why he should not be held in contempt but declined to do so.

"That's an ongoing conversation we'll have among an very bad lot of lawyers", Conaway said after Bannon's interview.

After the interview, Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley said Bannon answered Republicans' questions "no better than" his own.

"I don't think he needs to be subpoenaed", Florida's GOP Rep. Tom Rooney, a key member of the panel, said of Lewandowski. "You can't do that".

Representative Adam Schiff, the panel's top Democrat, said Bannon would only answer 25 questions written by the White House.

"We have told them they shouldn't agree to any restrictions apart from the proper exercise of executive privilege, which has not been invoked by any witness to date", Schiff said. Instead, he pushed back his return to the committee on three separate occasions until his Thursday appearance, and committee members were uncertain he'd appear until he arrived just minutes before the hearing began.

He voluntarily met with the same committee in January but refused to answer any questions over a 10-hour period. Negotiations between the House and White House have been ongoing since then, and interviews have been scheduled and postponed in recent weeks.

Should they decide to seek a contempt citation, a vote in the House Intelligence Committee would first be required - and later, probably, a resolution by the whole House - before the case would be transferred to the courts. The Intelligence Committee's effort is not supposed to overlap with Mueller's probe, but members stress that the same events and people are relevant to both investigations.

If Bannon does not settle with the committee, the matter could linger in the courts far beyond the panel's projected schedule to wrap up its probe.

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