Published: Mon, June 05, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Trump Reportedly Won't Try to Block Comey's Testimony to Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is leaning against invoking executive privilege to try to block fired FBI Director James Comey from testifying about their private conversations regarding an investigation into Trump's former national security adviser, two administration officials said Sunday.

On Friday morning, Conway suggested that Trump might claim executive privilege in an attempt to prevent Comey from testifying at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing next Thursday, and Spicer kept that thought balloon intact when asked about the possible strategy at a White House press briefing later in the day.

Immediately after describing his version of discussions with Comey, Trump sent out a tweet warning Comey he "better hope there are no tapes" of their conversations. It's also part of the story he's planning to tell lawmakers next week when - barring a last-minute schedule change - he testifies publicly for the first time about his axing, and about alleged collusion between Trump associates and elements of the Russian government to influence last year's presidential election. He said he has not discussed the matter with White House counsel, adding, "I don't know how they're going to respond". But a court likely would be reluctant to issue an injunction against testimony before Congress.

Three close associates of three contenders for the job, all of whom have been interviewed by Trump, said the candidates were summoned to the White House for 10- to 20-minute conversations with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Comey is set to testify June 8 before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the probe into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. But such a maneuver would likely draw a backlash and could be challenged in court, they said. Now that it appears the president has taken actions to interfere with the FBI's investigation, Congress' response is more important than ever. Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9 as Comey was leading that investigation.

Nearly as soon as the executive-privilege trial balloon went up yesterday, the White House shot it down.

Later, during an NBC News interview with Lester Holt, Trump repeated that he had asked Comey - once over dinner and twice by phone - if he was under investigation, and that Comey said he was not.

Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the Russian affair and dismissed allegations of inappropriate contacts between his team and Russia as "fake news".

Spicer said on Tuesday that Trump planned to meet that afternoon with John Pistole, a former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and head of the Transportation Security Administration, and Chris Wray, former head of the Justice Department's criminal division. He was sacked by Trump last month, four years into his 10-year term. Franken said he just wanted answers.

"We urge you in the strongest possible terms to counsel the president accordingly", said the letter, signed by ranking Democratic Rep. John Conyers of MI and six other committee members from his party. "That's information that we don't usually get to see". "That's the rub with executive privilege: It makes it look like you have something to hide", Rozell said.

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