Trump not planning to invoke executive privilege for Comey testimony - NY Times

Olive Rios
June 4, 2017

Comey is scheduled to testify on Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee about his 9 May firing by President Donald Trump.

Despite speculation that President Trump may seek executive privilege to prevent his former Federal Bureau of Investigation director- James Comey- from testifying next week before the Senate, two senior administration officials reportedly said there is no plan to hinder the testimony.

Trump could still move to block Comey's testimony, the Times reported, noting the president's history of changing his mind on decisions at the last minute. Executive privilege is a legal doctrine that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches.

Democrats are likely to press the former director on whether he viewed the President's comments as an effort to obstruct justice - an impeachable offense - and Republicans are likely to press Comey on why he did not make his concerns about his conversations with Trump known before he was sacked. The GOP staffer, who was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the chairman has the authority to sign off on subpoenas and that all the committee rules were followed.

A White House spokesman did not respond to a message seeking comment.

White House officials on Friday wouldn't rule out that Trump would attempt to invoke executive privilege, which Democrats have argued would be "baseless".

"That committee hearing was just noticed and I think, obviously, it has got to be reviewed", Spicer said. I have not spoken to counsel yet.

Comey, who was sacked by Trump last month, has been called to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into how the Russian government meddled in the presidential election and whether Trump's associates colluded with the Russians.

In an interview with ABC News, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared to indicate the president would allow Comey to testify.

But blocking former FBI Director James Comey from testifying to congress could spark a political backlash.

The paper also points out that President Obama used the privilege once while in office during a congressional inquiry into how weapons ended up with Mexican cartels.

Senators will nearly certainly ask Comey whether Trump asked him to drop an FBI investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian government officials. However, a memo written by Comey suggested that the president asked him to end its investigation into Michael Flynn.

Donald Trump and James Comey.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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