Congress appears increasingly likely to vote to hold former top White House strategist Steve Bannon in contempt after he once again refused to answer questions during an interview with the House Intelligence Committee as part of the Russian Federation investigation.
If Bannon hadn't shown, Adam Schiff of California, the panel's top Democrat, said he had been planning to ask the Republican-led committee to pursue a contempt charge, which is a federal misdemeanor punishable by as much as a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
"We can not permit a situation where the White House is allowed to script self-serving, misleading questions and provide it to a witness and effectively coach his testimony in a very narrow and misleading way", Mr. Schiff said.
He first testified last month and refused to answer questions about his time at the White House and about the transition period.
Russian Federation has denied trying to meddle in the election.
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"I don't know why Mr. Bannon would go along with this strategy unless this is an effort to re-ingratiate himself with the White House", Schiff said.
House members from both parties have so far rejected that broad interpretation of executive privilege, raising the stakes for Bannon's standoff with Congress.
Mr Schiff called for the initiation of contempt of Congress proceedings against Mr Bannon. Still, Republicans-including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who heads the committee's investigation-decline to say whether they'd hold Bannon in contempt. He's appearing under a subpoena amid a dispute with White House lawyers over what questions he can answer.
After the meeting, which lasted less than three hours, Conaway said he would discuss how to proceed with Ryan and House lawyers about the scope of executive privilege sought by the White House.
Bannon arrived for his second interview before the committee after a fierce weeks-long tug-of-war over what question would be allowed.
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Donald Trump's former senior adviser Steve Bannon has been accused of "stonewalling" a USA congressional committee, with some members of the committee calling for him to be held in contempt. The White House sent a letter to the committee on Wednesday explaining why the transition period fell under the executive branch's jurisdiction, in an attempt to shield the operative from questioning.
"There is no plausible claim of privilege that could apply to those circumstances", Schiff added.
"I think contempt is the only road left open to us", the Democrat said.
"If you don't (enforce the subpoena), what kind of precedent is that sending?"
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