Stephen Bannon and Corey Lewandowski are scheduled to testify in the coming week as the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election reaches a crescendo.
President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and former campaign manager, respectively, are part of a hectic schedule that Democrats fear is being engineered by Republicans keen to end the probe as soon as possible. Their appearances are voluntary, and they’ll meet with the panel in private, said officials from both parties familiar with the committee’s schedule.
Congressional interviews also were being sought for next week with U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation officials and a former top Department of Justice official. Some of those are expected to occur before the Intelligence committee, while others as part of a separate House probe into FBI handling of the Hillary Clinton email case in 2016.
Representative Adam Schiff of California, top Democrat on the intelligence panel, told reporters on Jan. 11 that he fears Republicans are hustling to wrap up the Kremlin election interference probe after 10 months — in his opinion, prematurely.
“Republicans want to conduct just enough interviews to give the impression of a serious investigation,” Schiff said. He didn’t rule out Democrats compiling a separate minority report of the committee’s work if Republicans shut things down, rather than join in the writing of a unified, bipartisan one.
Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California and Representative Michael Conaway of Texas, whom Nunes has assigned to lead the panel’s Russia investigation, haven’t given a precise timeline for wrapping up. But Conaway has indicated they don’t want to prolong the probe much deeper into the 2018 mid-term election year.
“While Mr. Schiff tries to distract from the serious, bipartisan review that’s been under way for nearly a year, we will stay focused on following the facts and working to safeguard the upcoming election,” AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan, said in a statement.
Lewandowski and Bannon received letters in December asking them to testify in early January, said an official familiar with the panel’s schedule. The letter didn’t lay out specific reasons the committee wants to interview them, or the questions the panel wants to pose, but makes clear that the interviews are part of the Russia investigation, the official said.
SOURCE: Billy House