Stephen Bannon, a former top adviser to US President Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury as part of a special counsel's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reports.

Today, the New York Times, which cited a person with direct knowledge of the matter, said it marked the first time Special Counsel Robert Mueller has used such a move against a member of Trump's inner circle.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment on the report.

Bannon, who recently had a public falling out with Trump over comments he made to an author of a controversial book, was meeting today with the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee as part of its own Russia investigation.

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes returns to a secure area in the Capitol where his panel is interviewing former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Photo / AP
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes returns to a secure area in the Capitol where his panel is interviewing former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Photo / AP

His interview follows his spectacular fall from power after being quoted in a book that he sees the president's son and others as engaging in "treasonous" behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

In Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer "dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather to Manafort. Wolff stands by his account.

After the book's release, Trump quickly disavowed "Sloppy Steve Bannon" and argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bannon apologised a few days later, but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News.

Bannon last year had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential transition and the White House — all during times now under scrutiny from congressional investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection between Trump's operations and Russia.

Bannon recently retained the same lawyer being used by former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House general counsel Don McGahn. Neither Bannon nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment on Monday.

The House Intelligence Committee is speeding toward a conclusion of its interviews in its Russia investigation. The final result could be marred by partisan infighting, raising the probability that Republicans on the panel will issue one set of findings and the Democrats will issue their own report.

- AP