Al Franken: I Don't Think Trump Ordered Comey to Quash Russia Probe

NY [U.S.], June 3: The White House may try to invoke executive privilege as former FBI Director James Comey testifies before a senate on June 8 about the accusations that President Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into his former national security adviser's ties to Russian Federation.'s. Trump was spending part of Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club outside of Washington.

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. Earlier Friday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, would not say what Trump planned to do.

Comey is expected to testify about several conversations he had with the president, including one in which Trump encouraged him to stop investigating his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, according to a memo by Comey.

Yet Trump may have weakened that argument by publicly disclosing elements of his conversations with Comey, including during an interview in May with NBC News and via Twitter, where the president said on May 12, "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee Friday warned President Donald Trump that blocking James Comey's testimony next week "would be seen as an effort to obstruct the truth from both Congress and the American people".

In recent days, the White House has begun referring all questions regarding the Russian Federation investigation to outside counsel Marc Kasowitz. Flynn was ousted February 13, less than four weeks after Trump's inauguration. Trump has denied trying to quash the probe.

Courts have often struck down attempts by presidents to invoke executive privilege and judges like to focus on the reason a commander in chief would want to keep something secret.

"It's highly unlikely a federal judge would issue an injunction", Ohlin said, and that leaves the second avenue of prosecuting Comey for violating executive privilege.

Though executive privilege has existed in practice for centuries, it wasn't formally recognized in the U.S. until 1974, when the Supreme Court addressed the issue in United States v. Nixon.

US intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government sought to influence the USA election in Trump's favor, a charge Russia has denied. Trump said in one post, shortly after The New York Times reported the request for the loyalty pledge. Separately, a group of supporters rallied near the White House to support the president's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

  • Larry Hoffman