Comey to be pressed on whether Trump interfered with Russian Federation probe

President Trump does not plan to invoke executive privilege to try to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before Congress next week, The New York Times reports, citing two senior administration officials.

During a subsequent Oval Office meeting, Trump asked Comey to drop the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Flynn, said a person who was given a copy of a memo Comey wrote about the conversation.

Meanwhile, Mr Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the Trump election campaign and Russian Federation, is expanding his probe to assume control of a grand jury investigation into Mr Flynn, three sources told Reuters. On Friday morning, Conway suggested that Trump might claim executive privilege in an attempt to prevent Comey from testifying at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing next Thursday, and Spicer kept that thought balloon intact when asked about the possible strategy at a White House press briefing later in the day.

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.

Mr Comey is widely expected to be asked about conversations in which the President reportedly pressured him to drop an investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, whose ties to Russian Federation are under scrutiny.

Legal experts told The Times that Trump does not have a strong case to invoke the privilege due to his public acknowledgement of his conversations with Comey. Trump later tweeted: "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Comey is expected to tell lawmakers on Thursday about his private conversations with Trump.

"Director Comey was sacked by the president And you have the president himself making derogatory comments, in effect, at least reported to the press, calling Comey a nut job.Totally inappropriate", Warner said. He said, while he likes Mr. Comey, he believes he is "probably upset" about getting firing by President Trump.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the intelligence committee, said Comey's testimony would be critical to address mounting questions about possible obstruction of justice.

Executive privilege is a legal loophole that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches. Trump has denied trying to quash the probe.

Mr Comey's dismissal was criticised by Democrats and Republicans alike. "He said, 'You are not under investigation'".

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Friday that Trump and his staff would be "watching with the rest of the world" to see what Comey has to say.

The investigations began after US intelligence agencies concluded Russia hacked Democratic National Committee computer servers a year ago with the intent of inflicting damage on the campaign of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, who political analysts say, Russian President Vladimir Putin despised.

  • Larry Hoffman