President Donald Trump personally ordered Steve Bannon not to answer certain questions during his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee this week, Foreign Policy reported Thursday.
The article said deputy White House counsel Uttam Dhillon presented legal rationale that the Trump administration might be able to limit the testimony of Bannon and others under executive privilege claims.
That reasoning formed the basis of Trump’s decision to restrict Bannon’s testimony, sources with firsthand knowledge told Foreign Policy.
The White House has acknowledged speaking with Bannon’s lawyer, Bill Burck, over the phone during his 10-plus-hour testimony to the House committee on Tuesday, but maintained that it was “following standard procedure.”
Burck told the committee that Bannon would not be answering any questions beyond those relating to the presidential campaign. However, Bannon mentioned that he discussed with fellow White House staffers the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that included Donald Trump Jr., former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner and alleged Russian operatives. Committee members then aggressively pushed Bannon to answer more questions about his time inside the White House, according to accounts of the hearing.
CNBC has reached out to the White House for comment.