Former White House strategist Steven Bannon has hired a lawyer to help him navigate a pressing part of the sprawling Russia investigation, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.
The on-the-outs Donald Trump associate retained attorney William Burck to deal with the House Intelligence Committee probe, the source said. He will only handle questions related to Bannon’s time managing the Republican’s 2016 campaign.
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Burck, a former top White House attorney under President George W. Bush, is not representing Bannon with respect to his time working on the Trump transition or his service in the White House, which ended last August. He’s also not dealing with any queries about Bannon from special counsel Robert Mueller, the source said.
Burck, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, is already representing former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and current White House counsel Don McGahn in the Russia investigations.
Bannon’s hiring of Burck was first reported Thursday by The Daily Beast.
Bannon — who has repeatedly declined comment about his legal representation — had until recently managed to stay out of the spotlight in the sprawling probe into whether Trump or his team worked with Russia on its interference in the 2016 election.
That changed last month when the House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Bannon seeking his testimony. The former Trump strategist, who earlier this week stepped down from his job as executive chairman of Breitbart News after feuding with the president, did not respond to requests for comment about when he will be interviewed.
Bannon has drawn scrutiny over his roles both in leading the Republican’s unorthodox campaign during its final months, as hacked Democratic emails roiled the race and helped lead to Trump’s stunning upset over Hillary Clinton, and his time in the White House. There, Bannon worked alongside national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December for lying to the FBI about his contacts with foreign officials, and he worked in the White House during the controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey that led to Mueller’s appointment.
“I think it’ll be very important at an appropriate time to bring him before the committee,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told POLITICO in December. “There are a whole range of issues we need to talk to him about.”
Bannon last week came under further heat about the Russia investigation with the publication of journalist Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury.” Bannon triggered Trump’s ire with comments surrounding a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and Russian operatives.
Bannon is quoted in the book calling that meeting “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” though he said in a statement he intended to criticize Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was also at the meeting and who has since been indicted by Mueller for money laundering and tax evasion.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the upper chamber’s intelligence committee, suggested on Thursday that he would want to speak to Bannon about comments in Wolff’s book concerning the potential for Mueller’s probe to zero in on money laundering by Trump’s allies.
“I would like to talk to Mr. Bannon, not on his characterization of the June  meeting — I mean, he wasn’t there,” Warner told reporters. “But I do feel like his characterization of individuals involved in the Trump organization, [that they] may have been involved in money laundering — I would like to know what is the basis for that claim.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, told CNN earlier this month that he did not see the need to talk to Bannon, however.
Bannon also predicted in Wolff’s book that White House communications director Hope Hicks could be in trouble with Russia investigators, saying “she doesn’t even know it.” Hicks is one of the people best positioned to recount the president’s reactions at various moments, including when Comey was fired and when Mueller was named to lead the probe.
Elana Schor contributed to this report.