House Democrats Warn Trump on Blocking Comey's Testimony
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 11:39
It's been three weeks since President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, and the top position at the country's leading law enforcement agency has yet to be filled, despite the president's promise for a quick replacement.
The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers' oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump. If true, then I would think Trump would want to have Comey corroborate that in a public hearing. 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.
"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.
But as Comey's time in the hot seat approaches, the White House has suggested that what Trump may do - or not do, rather - will set him apart from Nixon in a very real way. Besides, even if Trump invoked the privilege, Comey would still be able to testify unless the White House somehow got a judge to issue an injunction, which experts say would be highly unlikely.
Just as the Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord brought White House strategist Steve Bannon into direct confrontation with Jared and Ivanka, any Russian Federation spill will play into Bannon's hands.
Russia has repeatedly denied any effort to interfere in the US election, but Putin said on Thursday some Russians might have acted on their own without their government's involvement.
President Trump ignored a question about executive privilege from a reporter during a bill signing in the Oval Office.
Also potentially stymying the move is Comey's current status as a private citizen rather than a serving official.
"It would be unthinkable if the president actually did what was reported, asked FBI Director Comey to, in effect, back off of at least the investigation into General Flynn", Warner said.
There's been no final decision, and the matter remains under discussion, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday that Trump and his staff would be "watching with the rest of the world" to see what Comey has to say.
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.
Comey is widely expected to be asked about conversations in which the president reportedly pressured him to drop an investigation into Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose ties to Russian Federation are under scrutiny.
After Comey's dismissal, news reports emerged that Trump asked Comey to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn during a February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after Flynn was sacked for misrepresenting his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak.
Unless a last-minute claim of executive privilege from the White House halts Thursday's hearing, Comey will have an opportunity - under oath - to affirm his version of events. Does Mr. Comey agree that that is what was said?