Senate Intelligence Committee Makes Bipartisan Request To Investigate Steve Bannon For Lying In 2016 Russia Probe
The Senate Intelligence Committee has called on the Justice Department to investigate former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon on potential charges of lying during their investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the letter, which has yet to be made public, was signed by both its former Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and its ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia).
Burr has since stepped down from his role amid an investigation into a stock sell-off.
The news of the letter comes as the committee is near ready to release a final report on its own investigation of Russian interference in the election.
The two-page letter was sent July 19, 2019, to Deborah Curtis, a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington. It raised concerns that Bannon and other confidants to President Donald Trump had provided conflicting testimony during their investigation, a charge that similarly caused Roger Stone, Michael Cohen and others to serve prison time.
“As you are aware, the Committee is conducting an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the letter reads. “As part of that inquiry, and as a result of witness interviews and document production, we now have reason to believe that the following individuals may have committed a criminal act.”
The letter implies that the committee has reason to believe Bannon lied about his communications with Prince and other associates during a meeting in Seychelles prior to Trump’s inauguration. That meeting did not lead to any charges but investigators, including former special counsel Robert Mueller, believed it may have been purposed to establish relations with Russia and the incoming Trump administration.
The committee also asked the DOJ to look into Clovis for potentially lying about his correspondence with Republican donor, Peter Smith, who secretly worked to obtain former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton‘s missing emails.
Criminal referrals from Congress to the DOJ have become relatively common, but the bipartisan request in this letter is unusual.
“The Committee will not discuss referrals,” said a spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), the acting chairman of the committee. “And those who in order to score cheap political points are speculating on or claim to know the identities of those referred are committing a grotesque injustice.”