Steve Bannon hires lawyer as he prepares for Russia-related congressional testimony

Bannon arriving for a joint press conference at the White House in April 2017.
Bannon arriving for a joint press conference at the White House in April 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has hired prominent Washington attorney William Burck to represent him as he prepares to testify to the House Intelligence Committee about his role in Donald Trump's presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

Bannon had previously insisted that he did not need a lawyer because he had not been drawn into the multiple investigations into whether Trump's team coordinated with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

But in recent weeks, the House intelligence panel made a request that Bannon testify before the committee.

Bannon's hiring of Burck was first reported by the Daily Beast.

Burck, co-managing partner at the firm Quinn Emanuel, is also representing other key members of Trump's campaign and White House staff, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House Counsel Donald McGahn.

The person familiar with the arrangement said Burck's representation is limited to congressional testimony and does not include preparing Bannon to speak to special counsel Robert Mueller.

It also covers only Bannon's role on Trump's campaign, as opposed to events that occurred during the presidential transition or while Bannon served as a top aide to Trump in the White House.

Earlier this week, Bannon was forced to leave his role as executive chairman of Breitbart News, the conservative outlet whose platform propelled him to national prominence, in the wake of anger from the White House about comments he made in a new book by journalist Michael Wolff, Fire And Fury.

In the book, Bannon said it was "treasonous" of Trump's son Donald Trump Jr to accept a meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 who he thought would provide damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign.

After the book's publication, Bannon expressed regret about his statements, saying said his criticism was aimed at Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman who also attended the meeting. He called Trump Jr a "patriot".