Will Trump block Comey testimony? White House does not know yet
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 03, 2017,
Jun 03, 2017, 8:19
Former FBI director James Comey will testify on June 8 before a congressional panel probing allegations of Russian interference in last year's U.S. election, the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday.
The Senate intelligence committee announced Comey's appearance, and a Comey associate said he had been cleared to testify by Robert Mueller, another former FBI director now overseeing that investigation as special counsel.
After Trump fired Sally Q. Yates, the acting attorney general, in January and Congress asked her to testify, the Trump administration told her that some of her conversations with White House officials were covered by executive privilege - and in her testimony, she said she meant to respect certain limits on divulging privileged information. But the White House has vehemently denied Trump ever said anything that would pressure Comey to back off of Flynn or the larger Russian Federation investigation.
"That committee hearing was just noticed and I think, obviously, it has got to be reviewed", Spicer said.
A member on the Senate Intelligence Committee is opening his suggestion box to constituents to see what they want him to ask former FBI Director James Comey at next week's hotly anticipated open hearing. "I have not spoken to counsel yet, I don't know how they're going to respond", Spicer continued. And in Trump's letter firing Comey, the president brought up the conversations the two had about the Russian Federation investigation, so claiming those discussions need to be kept secret now probably won't fly.
Should the President assert this privilege, Congress and Comey might argue that the doctrine doesn't apply here if the discussion was related to a criminal attempt to obstruct justice.
Comey reportedly wrote in a memo that Trump asked him to shut down the FBI's probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is also one of Trump's top aides during the campaign.
Here is a guide to the issues that would be raised by applying executive privilege in this case.
Trump allegedly demanded Comey's "loyalty" pledge and urged Comey to drop his ongoing investigation into Michael Flynn. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1974 in U.S. v Nixon that executive privilege can only be used in limited circumstances, such as protecting national security or preserving the confidentiality of sensitive communications within the executive branch.
Comey will testify in an open session beginning at 10 am. Any claim of protecting privilege could be undermined by Trump's tweets about his conversations. Al Franken of Minnesota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont publicly released several letters they had sent the FBI requesting an investigation into whether Sessions had further undisclosed contacts with the Russian government. "That's the rub with executive privilege: It makes it look like you have something to hide", Rozell said. But Trump's ability to muzzle Comey could be stunted by the fact that he has already written a public letter and used Twitter to discuss the conversations. First, Congress would have to issue a subpoena requiring Comey to testify.
Sewell: Shouldn't the American people be concerned what - I think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he wouldn't know that he should've disclosed that he received $30,000 as a part of - of a speaking engagement to RT, the Russian U.S. anti-propaganda outlet.