January 18, 2018 / 2:47 PM / 4 months ago

Former Trump adviser Bannon will not go to House panel Thursday - source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former White House strategist Steve Bannon was not expected to return to testify before the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee on Thursday, a committee source said.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon speaks during a campaign event for Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Judge Roy Moore in Fairhope, Alabama, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/Files

Bannon refused to answer questions about his time with the Trump administration or the transition period leading to it when he first appeared before the panel on Tuesday.

The congressional source told Reuters that Bannon was not expected on Thursday. It was unclear whether he would appear before the panel again.

Earlier in the day, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff told CNN: “He’s supposed to come back. Whether he will or not I can’t say.”

“This broad declaration that ‘I won’t answer questions’ - not just about the transition but anything that happened after the campaign including up to the present date - is unsustainable,” Schiff said.

Bannon, a nationalist who ran the right-wing Breitbart News, directed the final stage of President Donald Trump’s campaign and was a key presidential adviser until being fired in August.

The rift between Bannon and Trump widened this month with the release of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a book that was highly critical of Trump and used Bannon as a prominent source.

The intelligence panel is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether there was any collusion with the Trump campaign. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is leading a federal special counsel investigation into the matter and was expected to interview Bannon.

A lawyer for Bannon, William Burck, did not return a request for comment.

Reporting by Makini Brice and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Trott and Susan Thomas

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