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Steve Bannon reportedly strikes a deal with Mueller, will avoid grand jury—for now

Kevin Breuninger
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images. Bannon will speak with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team voluntarily, CNN reported.

Steve Bannon has reportedly negotiated himself out of an appearance before a federal grand jury. Bannon, President Donald Trump 's former campaign chief and top White House strategist, has struck a deal to avoid testifying before a grand jury, CNN reported Wednesday. Rather than appear in the more formal grand jury setting, Bannon will answer questions voluntarily from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators. Bannon's attorneys negotiated the deal, CNN reported. The network said Bannon is expected to talk openly to Mueller's team. NBC News reported earlier Wednesday that Bannon was likely to make such a deal. The CNN report comes after Bannon refused to answer questions about his time in the White House during a marathon closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. Nonetheless, Bannon and Trump have had a messy public rupture, stemming from the former top aide's comments in Michael Wolff's explosive book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." Bannon's legal team includes newly retained lawyer William Burck, who is also representing two other witnesses involved in Mueller's probe into possible contacts between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia. Burck didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment, nor did the special counsel's office. A representative for the Justice Department declined to comment. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Bannon became the first close Trump staffer or confidant to be served a grand jury subpoena in relation to the special counsel's investigation. FBI agents, at the time unaware that Bannon had retained Burck the same day, arrived at his house in Washington, D.C., to serve him with the subpoena, NBC News reported.

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