Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

White House: Trump will not exert executive privilege over Comey

White House: Trump will not exert executive privilege over Comey

Spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump will not take the action "in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee".

Earlier, the White House had said that Trump was considering the use of executive privilege to halt Comey's testimony, essentially arguing that he is afforded an expectation of privacy in conversations he may have had with a government official.

Comey's sacking came as the Federal Bureau of Investigation probes possible collusion between the president's election campaign team and Russian Federation - which United States intelligence believes hoped to tilt the election in the Republican's favor.

Comey, whom Trump fired last month, is scheduled to testify publicly Thursday.

While Comey is expected to discuss his conversations with Trump, it is not clear how far he will feel constrained by the fact the interactions are also likely to form a key part of the special counsel investigation now being led by his predecessor as FBI director, Robert Mueller.

Trump asked Comey during a meeting to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to source familiar with the matter.

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The White House had floated the idea that Trump could invoke executive privilege, to protect the confidentiality of presidential discussions, but some aides were wary that it could look too much like a White House cover-up.

Trump fired Comey as he was busy heading an investigation into the Republican president's ties with the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign and transition.

In the weeks since, associates of Comey have said the former director felt uncomfortable about efforts by Trump to compromise the bureau's traditional independence.

Former acting Attorney General, however, has testified that Flynn's conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was not accurately disclosed to members of the Trump White House - potentially opening himself up to blackmail.

Should Comey deliver devastating testimony on any of those questions that suggests Trump obstructed justice, he will significantly worsen the political challenges facing the President.

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