As Comey looms, Trump to focus on infrastructure

Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

There's been no final decision as to whether Trump would invoke executive privilege, and the matter remains under discussion, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

However, legal experts say it is not clear whether certain conversations between Mr Trump and Mr Comey that the President has talked about publicly would be covered, and any effort to block Mr Comey, who is now a private citizen, from testifying could be challenged in court.

But Trump has addressed his conversations with Comey publicly in interviews and tweets, including one where he threatened the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

"I said to myself, I said "You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won", Trump said.

Flynn has become a central figure in investigations by Congress and the FBI into possible ties between Russian Federation, the Trump administration and the Trump campaign.

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.

Flynn was sacked after less than a month because of revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

One of the administration officials said Friday evening that Mr. Trump wanted Mr. Comey to testify because the president had nothing to hide and wanted Mr. Comey's statements to be publicly aired.

Before he even took office, critics were itching for reasons to compare President Donald Trump to disgraced Republican President Richard Nixon. It will be the first time Comey has spoken publicly since he was sacked by Trump a month ago.

White House officials had weighed trying to block Comey by arguing that his discussions with the president pertained to national security and that there was an expectation of privacy.

During testimony given by then-Director Comey during the March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing and his subsequent appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3, Comey's most juicy offering was that that the FBI Intelligence Committee had clearly ascertained that the Russians and their leader Vladimir Putin hated Hillary Clinton and were actively attempting to assist in the election of Donald Trump.

An air of historic suspense has been building in Washington in anticipation of Comey's testimony.

In his letter firing Comey, Trump said the former FBI director had informed him "on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation". "And I got up and left", Putin told NBC News' "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" program.

"Infrastructure is a priority of his", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said this week. The White House is anxious that Comey will have a very different version of those discussions and that he felt pressured by Trump to drop the pending investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sollenberger said any argument in favor of privilege also could be overcome because the investigation is focused on corruption and possible obstruction of justice.

The White House declined to comment on the nature of the interview process. He said he had yet to see any evidence of Russian meddling and drew a connection between the allegations against Russia and the theory that USA intelligence agencies arranged the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

  • Larry Hoffman