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Bannon's attorney related questions to White House

Bannon arrives for testimony
Bannon arrives for testimony 00:25

Steve Bannon's attorney relayed questions to the White House during a House Intelligence Committee interview of the former Trump chief strategist, CBS News has confirmed. 

During the day-long interview Tuesday, Bannon's attorney Bill Burck was asking the White House counsel's office by phone whether his client could answer the questions. He was told by that office not to discuss his work on the transition or in the White House. Two sources have confirmed to CBS News' Margaret Brennan that the calls were not made from the interview room during the Tuesday testimony — rather, Bannon's attorney stepped out to consult with the White House. 

That comes after the Associated Press reported the questions relayed to the White House in real time, which CBS News has learned is not the correct characterization, according to two sources. A source close to Bannon also told CBS News that Bannon's lawyer related topics about the transition and administration to the White House, and they told him that he was not authorized to answer questions on those topics unless the committee reached an accommodation with the White House on the proper scope of questioning. 

It's unclear who Burck communicated with or whether it was top White House lawyer Don McGahn. Burk is also representing McGahn in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said on Fox News Wednesday the White House shouldn't exert executive privilege, and said Bannon began to answer one question before halting. Bannon began to address the comment he reportedly made that was published in Michale Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside Trump's White House," claiming Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was "treasonous."

"He answered it initially and then apparently his lawyer didn't like the fact that he answered it, and then he clammed up," Gowdy said. 

Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the committee, confirmed the interaction with the White House when he spoke with reporters following the interview Tuesday night. Schiff said Bannon was served with a subpoena during the course of the interview, and his counsel then conferred with the White House and was instructed by the White House to refuse again to answer any questions.

Bannon's interview marked a significant point as the committee continues its investigation into Russian election meddling any any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Bannon was already interviews by Mueller's special counsel, which is conducting a separate investigation. 

President Trump has publicly split with his former chief strategist since Bannon left the White House last summer. Earlier this month, Mr. Trump issued a scathing statement saying that Bannon not only lost his job but "lost his mind," compelling other Trump allies to also part ways with Bannon. Bannon left his role as executive chairman at Breitbart News. 

CBS News' Alan He and Katiana Krawchenko contributed to this report. 

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