Bannon reportedly told House panel he talked to Priebus, Spicer about June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians

Key Points
  • Steve Bannon told House Intelligence Committee members that he had conversations with top Trump administration staffers about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Axios reports.
  • Bannon's lawyer had announced that questions beyond the scope of the 2016 presidential campaign would not be answered.
  • The slip-up came within the first 90 minutes of the testimony, Axios reports.
White House halts Bannon's testimony

Steve Bannon told House investigators that he spoke with a handful of White House staff members about Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with alleged Russian operatives at Trump Tower, multiple sources told Axios.

Bannon, former Trump campaign CEO and top White House strategist, said he spoke with former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, former press secretary Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about the infamous meeting. The exchange came during a marathon interview Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating possible Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Bannon was not part of the Trump campaign when the meeting occurred. Rather, the previous chief of the campaign, its chairman, Paul Manafort, was present, as was Donald Trump Jr. and Trump's son-in-lawJared Kushner.

Corallo, meanwhile, left his White House job in summer 2017 because he believed that a statement Trump reportedly drafted to explain his son's actions may have obstructed justice, according to Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." The New York Times first reported the 2016 Trump Tower meeting during the summer.

Steve Bannon, former advisor to President Trump, arrives at a House Intelligence Committee closed door meeting, on January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC.
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William Burck, Bannon's recently retained lawyer who is simultaneously defending two other clients related to the investigation, told the committee that Bannon would not be answering any questions beyond those relating to the presidential campaign, according to Axios.

Burck did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

CNBC reported that the White House had agreed on the parameters with House committee staffers the week before. California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the panel, said the White House did not inform him or his fellow Democrats about such a deal.

A representative for Schiff did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Bannon's slip-up came within the first 90 minutes of the testimony, Axios reported, leading committee members to aggressively push Bannon to answer more questions about his time inside the White House.

Bannon was also asked to address some of the claims he allegedly made in "Fire and Fury" In the book, Bannon had suggested it was almost certain that Donald Trump Jr. had taken the Russians from the Trump Tower meeting to see his father.

In the testimony, Bannon essentially said his claim was speculative, Axios reported. The elder Trump has repeatedly claimed that Wolff's book is false.

News that special counsel Robert Mueller had served Bannon with a grand jury subpoena hit during the testimony, prompting committee members to pause and reassess the whole process, Axios added.

Bannon has since negotiated himself out of an appearance before a federal grand jury, according to a CNN report Wednesday.

Read the full Axios report here.

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