Steve Bannon 'summoned' in Russian Federation probe


Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The move marked a new tenor to the investigation - the first time a grand jury subpoena was used to compel a top member of the Trump team to testify - even as Mr Trump's lawyers insisted the special counsel's probe was winding down.

In the book, he also suggested Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation would focus on money laundering - something the panel has spent time investigating overseas.

Speaking with The NYT, a person with direct knowledge stated that Mueller could allow Bannon to "forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel's offices about tie between Trump's associates and Russian Federation, and about the president's conduct in office".

A new book by Michael Wolff contained explosive allegations that Bannon was critical of Trump and his reported closeness with Russian Federation during the days of his campaign for the presidential election. According to Wolff, Bannon reported that there were "three senior guys in the campaign [who] thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower...with no lawyers", referring to a June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

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"Even if you thought that was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s**t, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately", Bannon said.

The decision to subpoena Bannon has sobering implications for Trump himself.

He has since regretted the comments and has been fired from Breitbart News as part of the fallout.

But Trump accused Bannon of having "lost his mind" when news of his comments to Wolff surfaced earlier this month. He is the latest high-profile figure to testify before the panel as part of its investigation into Russian Federation interference in the USA election.

Lewandowski said he hopes Democrats finally come to a "realization" that there was no Trump-Russia collusion, adding the Clinton campaign was "a very different story".