Comey Will Be Pressed On If Trump Interfered With Russia Probe

Claudine Rigal
Juin 5, 2017

The question of whether Trump's ask, Comey's continuance and Trump's subsequent firing of Comey constitutes obstruction of justice looms large.

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.

Nearly as soon as the executive-privilege trial balloon went up yesterday, the White House shot it down. That privilege allows the President and cabinet members to protect their communications from being accessed and reviewed by other branches of the federal government.

The White House on Friday refused to rule out the possibility of Trump invoking his presidential powers to block Comey's testimony. It cautioned that a final decision hadn't been made by the president.

In recent days, the White House has begun referring all questions regarding the Russian Federation investigation to outside counsel Marc Kasowitz.

Executive privilege has literally been around since the beginning of the republic.

Comey kept detailed memos of his conversations with the President, a topic sure to come up during the hearing. Much like the problems for executive privilege created by Trump's possibly waiving his office's exclusive right, however, the president's repeated public mentions of the matter may also make issuing a restraining order - let alone requesting one - legally hard, if not impossible. According to one of the sources, Trump wants Comey to testify because he has "nothing to hide and wanted Mr. Comey's statements to be publicly aired".

The president has written about three separate conversations he had with Comey about whether he was under investigation, he further elaborated on those conversations in a televised interview with NBC, and he tweeted about them.

"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.

Robert Mueller's expanding Russian Federation probe is trying to determine whether or not this is the case but won't finish for quite some time.

Comey's associates have said Comey told them that Trump asked him at a January dinner to pledge his loyalty to the president and, at an Oval Office meeting weeks later, asked Comey to consider ending an FBI investigation into Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Unlike Trump's Paris climate deal pullout which will take all the way up till 2020 to unravel, Comey is happening in real time. But seeking a restraining order barring testimony by Comey, who is now a private citizen, would be unprecedented. Rozell said he knows of no legal sanction for ignoring an assertion of executive privilege, but that it would be "unprecedented" for an assertion of the privilege to be ignored.

The president and Congress typically hammer out a compromise when they disagree about whether privilege can be asserted, said Rozell. I would again repeat that his most recent sworn testimony had to be corrected nearly immediately, ' Conway said.

If Comey refuses to testify, Congress could subpoena him and then find him in contempt of Congress. Congress could then ask a federal judge to force Comey to comply with its subpoena. "That phrase raises a lot of questions in my mind".

"Each of the relevant and ongoing investigations has focused on the question of collusion between President Trump's campaign and the Russian government", the lawmakers wrote.

"There's a history of Congressional investigations messing up criminal prosecutions", Butler said.

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