Washington (CNN) — The FBI interviewed Donald Trump’s attorney two weeks ago, federal prosecutors revealed in a new court filing Monday, a previously unknown development that could significantly shape the extensive investigation by the Department of Justice into the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.
In his June 29 interview, the attorney, Justin Clark, contradicted former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s assertion that the former president invoked executive privilege over certain information or material, which Bannon had cited as an excuse to avoid testifying before the House select committee investigating the insurrection.
Bannon told the commission on Saturday that he is now willing to testify, ideally in a public hearing, according to a letter obtained by CNN. He previously defied a congressional subpoena and is scheduled to go on trial on criminal contempt charges later this month.
The change came after he received a letter from Trump waiving executive privilege, though both the House select committee and federal prosecutors maintain that claim of privilege never gave Bannon carte blanche to ignore a congressional subpoena in first place.
According to prosecutors, “Bannon’s attorney misrepresented to the select committee what the former president’s attorney had told the defendant’s attorney.”
In October, heBannon’s lawyers told the select committee of the House of Representatives that Clark had informed them that Trump would exercise executive privilege over Bannon and “has directed Mr. Bannon not to produce documents or testify until the issue of executive privilege is resolved.”
Prosecutors have previously cited emails from Clark telling Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, that the letter Costello subpoenaed to the commission did not, in fact, indicate that the White House believed Bannon could claim executive privilege.
“The former president’s attorney made it clear to the defendant’s attorney that the letter provided no basis for total noncompliance,” prosecutors wrote in Monday’s filing.
The January 6 commission was interested in speaking with Bannon about his communications with Trump in December 2020, when Bannon reportedly urged him to focus on certifying the results of the January 6 presidential election. Committee members were also interested in Bannon’s comments in the run-up to the Capitol insurrection, including a podcast on Jan. 5, in which he predicted, “Chaos is going to break loose tomorrow.”
In a court filing Monday, federal prosecutors called Bannon’s willingness to testify now before the House select committee a “last-minute” effort that does not change the case against him, noting that he has not submitted the records. cited.
“Defendant’s last-minute efforts to testify nearly nine months after his failure to comply — he has yet to make any effort to turn over his records — are irrelevant to whether he voluntarily refused to comply with the October 2021 select commission subpoena.” “, the prosecutors wrote.
Bannon is scheduled to go to trial on July 18.
“The criminal contempt statute is not intended to procure compliance; it is intended to punish past noncompliance,” prosecutors wrote in their filing.