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Steve Bannon has refused to answer questions on his time as a Trump adviser on the advice of his lawyer, who phoned the White House during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.
The move has been labelled a "gag order", with Mr Bannon refusing to answer numerous questionsafter his lawyer relayed them in real time to the White House during the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee interview.
Separately, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist has also struck a deal to be interviewed by US special counsel Robert Mueller's team rather than appearing before a grand jury, after being subpoenaed to testify in his probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, according to CNN.
An interview with prosecutors would allow Mr Bannon to have a lawyer present during his appearance, as lawyers are not permitted in grand jury rooms.
As the House Intelligence Committee's questioning moved from Mr Trump's election campaign to Mr Bannon's time in the White House, his lawyer William Burck called with White House lawyers to ask whether his client could answer the questions.
He was told not to discuss his work on the transition to, or in, the White House.
Committee members sought answers around Mr Bannon's time working for Mr Trump, including the President's thinking when he fired FBI director James Comey, but Mr Bannon refused to answer a broad array of questions about that crucial period.
As a result the chairman, Republican Devin Nunes, issued a congressional subpoena, spokesman Jack Langer said.
A White House official said the White House counsel's office had a conversation last week with committee counsel about Mr Bannon's testimony and was told the questions were expected to be about the election campaign.
Adam Schiff, the committee's top Democrat, said Mr Bannon's refusal to answer questions from the panel "can't stand" and went far beyond other witnesses who have declined to answer specific questions.
He said the committee expects to have Mr Bannon return for more questioning.
"This was effectively a gag order by the White House preventing this witness from answering almost any question concerning his time in the administration and many questions even after he left the administration," Mr Schiff said.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: "As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House, Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material.
"This is part of a judicially recognised process that goes back decades."
Investigators probing potential collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign are reportedly now seeking to question the US President.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's questioning would focus on the President's decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI director James Comey, according to a report in the Washington Post.
The Post reported that Mr Trump's legal team was negotiating on the form the President's testimony could take.
The paper said Mr Trump's lawyers could ask for him to be allowed to answer some questions in person and some in a written statement.
I'm not surprised. The last thing the Trump cabinet wants is Donald speaking for himself.
US President Donald Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June, but he backed off the order after a White House lawyer threatened to resign, The New York Times has reported.
The newspaper reported Mr Trump demanded Mr Mueller's firing just weeks after the special counsel was first appointed to investigate allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Lawyer Don McGahn said he would not deliver the order to the Justice Department, according to The Times, which cites four people familiar with the request by the President.
Mr Mueller learned of the incident in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in an inquiry into whether the President obstructed justice, the Times reported.
Amid media reports that Mr Mueller was looking into a possible obstruction case, Mr Trump argued at the time the special counsel could not be fair.
The President is reported to have said Mr Mueller could not be impartial because of a previous dispute over golf club fees that he said the special counsel owed at a Trump golf club.
Mr Trump also believed Mr Mueller he had a conflict of interest because he worked for the same law firm that was representing Mr Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and also that he had been interviewed to return as the director of the FBI the day before he was appointed as special counsel.
Now the conflict of interest is one thing - but the golf fees?
The US Justice Department has indicted three Russian companies and 13 individuals for attempting to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Between 2014 and 2016, there was a multi-pronged effort with the aim of supporting then-businessman Donald Trump and disparaging his rival Hillary Clinton, US special counsel Robert Mueller said in an indictment on Friday (local time).
The 37-page indictment described a conspiracy to disrupt the US election by people who adopted false online personas to push divisive messages, travelled to the US to collect intelligence, and staged political rallies while posing as Americans.
One of the companies, the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system, including the 2016 US presidential election," the indictment said.
"Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton," the court document said.
Mr Trump, who has previously denounced Mr Mueller's probe into whether his campaign colluded with the Kremlin as a "witch hunt", said the indictment proved his campaign was in the clear.
"Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President," he wrote on Twitter.
"The results of the election were not impacted."
The indictment broadly echoed the conclusions of a January 2017 US intelligence community assessment, which found Russia had meddled in the election, and that its goals eventually included aiding Mr Trump, the Republican candidate who went on to a surprise victory over Democratic Party candidate Ms Clinton in November 2016.
"The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy. We must not allow them to succeed."
Facebook and Twitter both declined to comment on the indictment.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the allegations were absurd.
"Thirteen people interfered in the US elections?! Thirteen against an intelligence services budget of billions? Against intelligence and counterintelligence, against the latest developments and technologies? Absurd? Yes," Ms Zakharova wrote in a post on Facebook.
One of the individuals indicted, Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, said he was not upset, state news agency RIA reported.
"The Americans are very emotional people, they see what they want to see. I have great respect for them. I am not at all upset that I am on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them," RIA quoted Mr Prigozhin, a businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as saying.
Mr Prigozhin, an entrepreneur from St Petersburg, has been dubbed "Putin's chef" by Russian media.
His restaurants and catering businesses have hosted the Kremlin leader's dinners with foreign dignitaries. In the more than 10 years since establishing a relationship with Mr Putin, his business has expanded to services for the military.
Mr Prigozhin's assets also include an oil trading firm that reportedly has been sending private Russian fighters to Syria.
The indictment appeared likely to provide ammunition to Democrats and others arguing for a continued aggressive probe of the matter.
The 2017 intelligence agency finding has spawned investigations into any ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Russia has denied interfering in the election, and Mr Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday (local time) he had already seen evidence Russia was targeting US elections in November, when Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate were at stake, plus a host of positions in state governments.
"Frankly, the United States is under attack," Mr Coats said at an annual hearing on worldwide threats.
Russia would try to interfere in the 2018 US midterm elections by using social media to spread propaganda and misleading reports, much as it did in the 2016 campaign, intelligence chiefs said at the hearing.
Anyone on Facebook?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described reports about Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election as "blather".
Mr Lavrov's comments come just one day after the US Justice Department indicted three Russian companies and 13 individuals, accusing them of conspiring to interfere with "US political and electoral processes".
The Foreign Minister declined to comment on the new charges, telling the Munich Security Conference on Saturday (local time) that US Vice-President Mike Pence and others had raised questions about the investigation.
"You may publish anything you want to. So until we see the facts, everything else is just blather," Mr Lavrov said.
Russia's former ambassador to the United States has also dismissed the allegations as "fantasies" rooted in domestic politics.
"I'm not sure that I can trust American law enforcement to be the most precise and truthful source of information about what Russians do," former ambassador Sergei Kislyak said.
"I have never done anything of this sort. None in my embassy did. So whatever allegations are being mounted against us are simply fantasies that are being used for political reasons inside the United States in the fight between different sides of the political divide."
The surprise 37-page indictment could alter the divisive US domestic debate over Russia's meddling, undercutting some Republicans who, along with US President Donald Trump, have attacked Mr Mueller's investigation.
"These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself," said Paul Ryan, Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The indictment described a conspiracy to disrupt the US election by people who adopted false online personas to push divisive messages, travelled to the US to collect intelligence, and staged political rallies while posing as Americans.One of the companies, the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency,
A year before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, two Russian operatives landed in the United States to lay groundwork for an intelligence operation targeting the legitimacy of the 2016 election.
What began as a Cold War-like attack by a long-time adversary would mix old-fashioned political agitation with 21st century social media tools that ultimately roiled the election and shook America's political landscape.
To get up to speed:
The 37-page indictment described a conspiracy to disrupt the US election by people who adopted false online personas to push divisive messages.
It revealed that social media campaign relied on extensive intelligence work by operatives on US soil.
And we learned this all started earlier than commonly believed, first aiming to "sow discord" ahead of the 2016 election and later to boost Mr Trump's candidacy.
The indictment does not specifically tie the influence operation to Russia's intelligence apparatus.
Instead, it points fingers at a group of operatives working for a unit called "The Organisation", financed to the tune of millions of dollars.
According to the indictment, that money came from by Yevgeny Prigozhin.
He's a St Petersburg businessman dubbed "Putin's chef" because his restaurants have catered dinners for the Kremlin leader and foreign dignitaries.
The scheme outlined in the indictment began with fraudulent visa applications for US travel.
Though some of the Russians were rejected, two operatives, Aleksandra Krylova and Anna Bogacheva, allegedly travelled as tourists through at least nine states over about two weeks in June 2014.
They had developed "evacuation scenarios" in case their cover was blown.
Another unindicted operative travelled to Georgia in November of that year.
Prosecutors say the operatives were gathering intelligence used to evaluate political targets on social media.
The operation developed metrics on social media groups, measuring things like frequency of posting and audience engagement.
Later, back in Russia, some of the operatives posed as US citizens to contact political and social activists.
The indictment describes one interaction with someone at a "Texas-based grassroots organisation" who suggested they target closely contested purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida.
It was banal conventional wisdom, but afterwards, the Russian operatives began using the jargon in their own interactions, which US authorities somehow were able to access.
The early groundwork set the table before the campaign was in full swing.
Social media accounts were established to lend credibility to their covert efforts.
The Russian-based operatives posed as US political activists from all corners.
Later, goals were set and enforced by the group's leadership: undermine Mrs Clinton while boosting her Democratic opponent in the primary, Bernie Sanders, as well as Mr Trump.
To obfuscate their efforts, the operatives, working in concert with the Internet Research Agency — a St Petersburg-based troll farm — purchased server space in the US.
Using virtual private networks they could conduct their social media interactions while appearing to be based in the US.
They also relied on identity theft, stealing and then using the social security numbers, home addresses and birthdates of real Americans without their knowledge, the indictment says.
The operatives set up bank accounts at a federally insured bank, set up accounts at PayPal using stolen identities and fake drivers' licences, and purchased fraudulent credit card and bank account numbers at as many as six US banks.
The operatives even received money from real Americans who wanted to use the Russian-backed social media pages for their own promotions, the indictment says.
The false identities and accounts aided the covert purchase of internet advertising, circumventing laws to prevent foreign influence in US politics.
That groundwork also helped to stage political rallies.
While posing as American political activists, the operatives paid people in the US to promote or disparage candidates.
Starting in June 2016, just weeks after Mr Trump had officially clinched the Republican nomination, the Russians upped the ante on their clandestine work.
They began to organise and coordinate pro-Trump political rallies.
To build interest, the Russians promoted the events using their "false US persona social media accounts", contacting unwitting American administrators of large social media groups focusing on US political issues.
Using fake pro-Trump Facebook and Twitter accounts, the Russians touted two political rallies in New York, one slated for June 25, 2016, and a second for July 23.
The Russians soon grew bold enough to enlist unwitting Americans in their efforts.
One was asked to build a cage on a flatbed truck, while a second American was asked to wear a costume portraying Mrs Clinton in a prison uniform.
The Russians, the indictment notes, "paid these individuals to complete the requests".
On June 5, someone posing as an American activist used the Twitter account @March_for_Trump to contact an unnamed Trump campaign volunteer in New York.
The Trump volunteer "agreed to provide signs for the March for Trump rally", the indictment alleges.
That internet contact came four days before senior Trump campaign officials, including Mr Trump's son, Donald Junior, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met in person with a group of representatives for Russian interests at Trump Tower.
The Trump Tower meeting — separately being investigated by the special counsel — is not cited in the indictment and is not known to have any connection with the allegations detailed in it.