Trump probably won't use executive privilege to stop Comey from testifying
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 22:48
Former FBI Director James Comey will have the nation captivated next Thursday when he testifies before a Senate panel about the stunning accusations that President Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into his former national security adviser's ties to Russian Federation. According to a Comey memo reported by the New York Times last month, Trump had asked Comey to lay off his agency's investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Friday that "the president will make that decision", raising the prospect that the White House may try to invoke executive privilege over Comey's conversations with Trump. He's been asked by Congress to testify and I think he should testify in front of Congress.
Comey was sacked last month amid his agency's probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. It's possible that Congress could have sued the White House over a claim in order to get a judge to rule that Trump had waived the privilege by publicly characterizing the conversations already, but there seems to be no precedent for such an implied waiver. Trump's public comments about Comey - including a series of critical tweets - would also hurt the case against executive privilege. Then in a February meeting at the White House, Rosenstein and President Donald Trump further "discussed" Comey's "deeply troubling" and "serious mistakes", Rosenstein wrote in his now-infamous letter recommending that Comey be fired.
Collins said she is particularly eager to hear what Comey has to say about his meetings with Trump, which Trump referred to in his letter terminating the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.
Trying to stop Comey from testifying by using executive privilege will nearly certainly fail, but I understand why the White House would want to do it.
I'm afraid I have to give a vote of no confidence to President Donald Trump. I'm now frightened. 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.
Legal experts have said that Mr. Trump's tweets about Mr. Comey would damage any claim of executive privilege.
James Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in May. Trump could argue that discussions with Comey pertained to national security and had the expectation of privacy.
However, "I can not defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the almost universal judgment that he was mistaken", Rosenstein said.
As Comey's open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee looms closer, the Trump administration has sent mixed signals over whether it's looking into the possibility of invoking executive privilege to prevent Comey from disclosing the content of his conversations with Trump.
USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation meddled in the presidential election to hurt the bid of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, who served as the chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, said he had no idea what Comey might say.