Trump never invoked executive privilege over Bannon's Jan. 6 testimony, his attorney tells investigators


(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department revealed in an early Monday morning court filing that federal investigators interviewed former President Donald Trump’s attorney Justin Clark two weeks ago in connection with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s criminal contempt case.

Prosecutors say that Clark confirmed in the interview that at no point did Trump ever invoke executive privilege over Bannon’s testimony — and directly contradicted other claims made by Bannon’s defense team in their case.

Bannon was charged last year with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after defying a Jan. 6 subpoena, though he argued Trump’s privilege claim protected him. He pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial next week.

Prosecutors say in Monday’s filing that they believe Bannon’s recent efforts in conjunction with Trump to offer to finally testify before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are no more than an effort to try to make Bannon more of a sympathetic figure to the jury he’s set to face next week.

“All of the above-described circumstances suggest the Defendant’s sudden wish to testify is not a genuine effort to meet his obligations but a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability,” prosecutors say.

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“The Defendant’s timing suggests that the only thing that has really changed since he refused to comply with the subpoena in October 2021 is that he is finally about to face the consequences of his decision to default,” prosecutors said in the filing.

Regarding Bannon, the filing also said Clark told investigators that he “never asked or was asked to attend the Defendant’s deposition before the Select Committee; that the Defendant’s attorney misrepresented to the Committee what the former President’s counsel had told the Defendant’s attorney; and that the former President’s counsel made clear to the Defendant’s attorney that the letter provided no basis for total noncompliance.”

Neither representatives for Bannon or the Jan. 6 committee immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Bannon remained an outside adviser to Trump after helping to lead Trump’s first presidential campaign and serving a short stint in the White House. He was at a meeting at the Willard Hotel where lawmakers were encouraged to challenge the 2020 presidential election results in the lead-up to Jan. 6, the House Jan. 6 committee claimed in a 2021 letter to Bannon that accompanied his subpoena.

On his final night in office, Trump pardoned Bannon, who had been indicted on charges tied to an alleged conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering related to a crowdfunding effort to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prosecutors had accused Bannon of defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign by falsely claiming that he and other organizers would not take a cut of any donated funds. Prosecutors alleged that organizers of the group, including Bannon, syphoned off at least $1 million for their own personal expenses.

Two of Bannon’s co-defendants in the case, Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, who did not receive pardons from Trump, pleaded guilty. The trial for a third co-defendant, Timothy Shea, ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.

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