What was James Comey thinking when he met with Trump?
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 03, 2017,
Jun 03, 2017, 22:33
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.
CNN reported that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said that the president and his White House counsel haven't decided whether to invoke a doctrine called executive privilege, saying that the West Wing hadn't had enough time to consider all of the options just yet. "I don't know how they are going to respond", Spicer said.
Comey is widely expected to be asked about conversations in which the president reportedly pressured him to drop an investigation into Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose ties to Russian Federation are under scrutiny.
Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn on Friday in which they warn that "a$3 ny assertion of privilege by the President would be seen as an effort to obstruct the truth from both Congress and the American people".
It's also part of the story he's planning to tell lawmakers next week when - barring a last-minute schedule change - he testifies publicly for the first time about his axing, and about alleged collusion between Trump associates and elements of the Russian government to influence last year's presidential election.
Invoking executive privilege can be a politically treacherous move, recalling past scandals like Watergate, in which President Richard M. Nixon asserted the power in efforts to block congressional investigations. While the justices said conversations between presidents and top aides were presumed confidential, they said the privilege is not absolute. For example, Comey is no longer a federal employee since Trump promptly fired him in early May.
"In short, use of executive privilege to block Mr. Comey's testimony would be a mistake".
A White House spokesman did not respond to a message seeking comment.
"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
Russia has repeatedly denied any effort to interfere in the United States election, and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said some Russians might have acted on their own without their government's involvement. "We'll be watching with the rest of the world when Director Comey testifies", she said. Trump wrote in one post after reports that said he had asked Comey to pledge his loyalty.