Steve Bannon accused of 'stonewalling' US congressional committee

Democrats called for Trump's former senior adviser to be "held in contempt" after he refused to answer questions

Steve Bannon accused of 'stonewalling' US congressional committee

Steve Bannon. Picture by: Mary Schwalm/AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump's former senior adviser Steve Bannon has been accused of 'stonewalling' a US congressional committee, with some members of the committee calling for him to be held in contempt.

Mr Bannon appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting earlier today.

The committee is one of several congressional probes investigating the issue of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

While the meeting was not public, Adam Schiff - the senior Democrat on the committee - told reporters that Mr Bannon had refused to answer 'almost all' of the questions put to him about his time on the Trump transition team and in the White House.

Mr Schiff explained: "He asserted that he had been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of the president. The breadth of that claim of executive privilege is breathtaking and insupportable, and indeed at times it was laughable.

"[He] went so far as to refuse to answer questions about conversations he had after he left the administration, and with people who played no role in the administration [...] The only questions he would answer were questions that had literally been scripted for him by the White House."

He added: "I think the next step for the Congress to take is to initiate contempt proceedings."

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted:

Mr Bannon - a former chairman of the right-wing Breitbart News website - served as head of the Trump campaign in the months ahead of the presidential election, before by appointed the new president's chief strategist.

Bannon left his White House role in August 2017, and was publicly slammed by the US president earlier this year after his provocative comments in the tell-all book Fire & Fury became public.

President Trump accused his former adviser of having "lost his mind" and having had "very little to do with our historic victory".

The fallout from that controversy also saw Bannon step down from his role at Breitbart.

Last month, the New York Times reported that Bannon had been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury.