Bannon Lawyers Up; Russia Investigators Ready to Pounce
Steve Bannon is lawyering up as he gets ready to face investigators looking into the Trump-Russia nexus.
The Daily Beast has learned that the former top White House strategist has retained Bill Burck, of the firm Quinn Emanuel. Two sources tell us Burck is helping Bannon prepare for an interview with the House intelligence committee, which is currently scheduled for next week. Sources also said Bannon plans to “fully cooperate” with investigators.
Burck also represents White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for the purposes of the Russia probe, as Law360 reported last September.
It is not unheard of for one attorney to represent more than one client on the same matter. But the fact that several key players with Trump administration ties have the same lawyer could irk investigators.
“In general, prosecutors don’t like it when the same attorney represents multiple people who are subjects—or more—because it looks like they’re controlling the story,” said Ken White, a former federal prosecutor who specializes in First Amendment issues, speaking of investigators’ targets.
Until recently, Bannon had largely avoided becoming publicly ensnared in the Russia investigation. But behind the scenes, Bannon sought to play a role in Team Trump’s handling of the issue. He privately advised the president in October to get more aggressive in fighting back against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and urged Trump to hire new lawyers.
That fall-out was due in part to the Russia probe; it came after Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury quoted Bannon as saying that the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with Kremlin-linked Russian operatives was “treasonous.” (Bannon later claimed that the criticism was meant only for Manafort, a seasoned campaign operative who should have known better.)
That was all months before Trump and his former chief strategist had a public falling out last week that resulted in Bannon losing his job at the pro-Trump Breitbart News.
So House investigators will have scores of questions for the ousted White House official-turned-ousted Breitbart chairman—at the exact moment when his allies have abandoned him.