Trump doesn't favor invoking what is known as executive privilege to prevent former FBI Director James Comey from testifying Thursday. "So basically, if Comey really wants to testify, realistically there's nothing the Trump administration can do to stop him", Ohlin said.
A member of the Senate intelligence committee says "we've seen no smoking gun at this point" regarding collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 USA presidential election. Democrats are likely to press the former director on whether he viewed the President's comments as an effort to obstruct justice - an impeachable offense - and Republicans are likely to press Comey on why he did not make his concerns about his conversations with Trump known before he was sacked.
Two unnamed senior administration officials told The New York Times that Trump has decided not to invoke his executive privilege. Senators are expected to grill Comey-in both an open and a closed panel-on certain conversations with Trump or his aides, including one in which Trump reportedly asked Comey to drop an investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation and Turkey.
Trump could argue that discussions with Comey pertained to national security and had an expectation of privacy.
Kellyanne Conway raised the prospect that the White House may try to invoke executive privilege over Comey's conversations with Trump.
But the New York Times quoted the President in the memo as saying he "hoped" Lt. Gen. Flynn wasn't prosecuted because he was a "good man", to which Comey replied he agreed he was a good man. Democrats cited the report as proof of obstruction of justice, something legal experts mocked.More news: 'Wonder Woman' has biggest opening ever for a female director
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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. Another main goal for the hearing on Capitol Hill is for Comey to clarify exactly what was said in his conversations with Trump, said Warner. Susan Collins, a Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said she also wants to understand "the tone, the exact words that were spoken" between Trump and Comey because the context is "so important".
"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.
Another of the three sources described the process as chaotic and said that in one interview, Trump spoke mostly about himself and seemed distracted. "That committee hearing was just noticed and I think, obviously, it has got to be reviewed", he said during Friday's press briefing. Trump has denied trying to quash the probe.
Comey is to testify Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee. "He said, 'You are not under investigation'". But a court likely would be reluctant to issue an injunction against testimony before Congress.
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.