Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in connection with his office's investigation into President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election. It was unclear, however, whether Mr Bannon will be forced to testify. Mueller is likely to allow Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel's offices about ties between Trump's associates and Russian Federation and about the president's conduct in office, according to the person, who would not be named discussing the case. Bannon was named Trump's campaign CEO in August 2016 and served as the president's chief strategist from his inauguration until his dismissal previous year in August.
The White House doctor has declared that President Donald Trump is in good mental health.
While the subpoena is seen as a sign that Bannon is not a personal focus of the investigation, it does represent a looming negotiating tactic for Mueller's investigation.
He was appointed by the United States justice department in May of past year to oversee an investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The decision to subpoena Bannon could also be a sign that Mueller's investigation is growing more intense. The special counsel is reportedly preparing to interview Mr Trump as well. "The Russian Collusion Hoax is dead, except as it pertains to the Dems".
He helped shape Mr Trump's "America First" election campaign message and served as one of his closest aides before being sacked in August.
Mueller issued the subpoena after Bannon was quoted in a new book criticizing Trump, saying that Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with Russians was "treasonous" and predicting that the special counsel investigation would ultimately center on money laundering.
It took place at Trump Tower in NY and also involved Mr Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, his then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and an influential Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency", Trump said after the book's publication.
News of the subpoena comes on the same day that Bannon appeared on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to provide testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in their probe into Russian meddling.
This is one of four investigations being conducted by Congress into the alleged collusion, with others launched by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight Committee.