White House: Trump will not block ex-FBI chief Comey's testimony

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 6, 2017

The White House has denied that the conversation with Comey took place as described in the alleged memo, but have offered no further clarification.

Editor's note: Former FBI Director James Comey may testify before Congress on June 8.

President Trump will not claim executive privilege to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before Congress later this week, the White House confirmed on Monday.

Senators on both sides will want to know whether Comey felt pressured by the President to close down the Russian Federation investigation and will likely press him on reports that Trump demanded his loyalty.

Comey is also likely to be asked by lawmakers about Trump's assertion that the former FBI chief told him three times that he was not under investigation as part of the federal probe into his campaign's possible Russian Federation ties. Well, tonight, we have an answer on that from the White House. "It would be unthinkable if the president actually did what was reported", Sen. Susan Collins of ME said on CBS "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

In response to the president's remarks, CNN host Reza Aslan called Trump a piece of shit.

"The tone, the exact words that were spoken and the context are so important", Collins said. "Where would we get this information from?" The committee has requested those memos as you reported there, Mary.

It's possible Thursday's hearing won't live up to the hype it's getting in Washington. Comey turned down a testimony request from the Senate Judiciary Committee and has already spoken with Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the Russian Federation investigation and the circumstances surrounding his May firing.

Comey has indicated that he wants to testify.

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president's power to invoke privilege is "well-established".

Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University and the author of a book on executive privilege, said the key questions for Mr. Comey do not fall into areas recognized as meriting confidentiality, such as national security. A special counsel appointed by the Justice Department as well as congressional committees are investigating. Rosenstein briefed senators privately on the appointment, but he may be asked publicly for more details Wednesday.

Whether or not there is a case against Trump for obstruction of justice is likely to hinge in large part on what Comey says and what, if any, proof he can produce.

And extraneous forces figure to be just as relevant to anything said this week.

Few non-politicians have had more impact on Washington politics in recent years than Comey. Comey was allegedly concerned that the document would leak, undermining the FBI's reputation, so he chose to get out ahead of it by making an unusual blistering announcement detailing how Clinton was "extremely careless" but announcing no charges would be filed against her. "Two other top intelligence officials, including the head of the NSA, were also pushed by the President to downplay the Russian Federation investigation". Comey was subsequently fired by Trump in May.

A top secret National Security Agency document meanwhile shows that hackers from Russian military intelligence repeatedly tried to break into U.S. voting systems before last year's presidential election, The Intercept reported Monday. Russian Federation has denied involvement, and Trump has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation. The White House now says definitely President Trump won't try to block him.

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