Trump Lawyer: Executive Privilege Not Asserted in Bannon Subpoena

Trump Lawyer: Executive Privilege Not Asserted in Bannon Subpoena steve bannon speaks to the media Steve Bannon (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Brian Freeman | Monday, 11 July 2022 11:02 AM EDT

Donald Trump's attorney Justin Clark told Justice Department investigators that the former president never asserted executive privilege in response to the subpoena Steve Bannon received last year from the House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, federal prosecutors revealed on Monday, The Hill reported.

Bannon's trial over two misdemeanor contempt of Congress charges is scheduled to start next week.

In a court filing submitted on Monday, prosecutors said that on June 29, Clark, "who sent the letter on which the defendant [Bannon] claimed his noncompliance was based, confirmed what his correspondence has already established: that the former president never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials; that the former president's counsel never asked or was asked to attend the defendant's deposition before the Select Committee; that the defendant's attorney misrepresented to the committee what the former president's counsel had told the defendant's attorney; and that the former president's counsel made clear to the defendant's attorney that the letter provided no basis for total noncompliance."

The court filing come less than two days after Bannon's lawyers said in a letter to the House Jan. 6 select committee that their client is now willing to testify, partly due to the fact that Trump has decided to "waive" any assertions of executive privilege over his former adviser, The Hill reported.

"President Trump has provided us with a letter, which is attached, attesting to the fact that back in October 2021, he did invoke executive privilege with respect to Mr. Bannon's testimony and document production," Bannon’s attorney Robert Costello wrote to the committee.

DOJ prosecutors pointed out, however, that their interview with Clark appears to contradict claims by Bannon's lawyer’s to the select committee, The Hill reported.

"Even the defendant’s claim that the reason he is now willing to testify is because the former president is 'waiving' executive privilege is subject to question given all of the evidence and law that has been addressed in this case, of which he must be aware, demonstrating that executive privilege never provided a basis for total noncompliance in the first place," the prosecutors said in the filing.

The prosecutors emphasized on Monday that Bannon's sudden willingness to testify does nothing to affect his culpability in the case and asked a judge to prevent the defense from presenting any evidence about his recent change of heart, according to The Hill.

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