White House: Trump won't seek to block Comey testimony

President Donald Trump waves as he departs an Air Traffic Control Reform Initiative event in the East Room at the White House Monday

Trump Won't Block James Comey's Testimony Before Congress

President Trump will not try to assert executive privilege over conversations with James Comey, a spokesperson said Monday, clearing the way for the ex-FBI director's testimony before Congress on Thursday.

Legal experts have also said that the president likely undermined his ability to assert executive privilege by publicly discussing his dealings with Comey in tweets and interviews.

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

Trump Won't Block James Comey's Testimony Before Congress

Investigations into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump campaign aides are ongoing.

Comey is expected to be questioned about the circumstances of his shock firing last month and allegations that Trump has tried to stifle the agency's investigation and divert attention to intelligence leaks that have hurt his administration. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. And seeking to block Comey's testimony could amount to a grievous political misstep since it would instantly be seen as sign that the White House has something to hide.

Asked at a news conference if he pressured Comey to drop the Flynn probe, Trump had said, "No. No".

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According to the New York Times, Comey kept detailed memos of their meetings, including one from a day after Flynn's departure in which Trump was quoted as saying, "I hope you can let this go", about the Flynn investigation.

Independent analysts have said they don't believe Comey, now a private citizen, can be stopped if he is intent on telling his story.

The proposal immediately ran into opposition in Congress, raising questions over whether Mr Trump can restart a stalled domestic agenda as Washington waits for James Comey, the sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, to testify on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

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He may also be unwilling to offer much clarity on the status of the Russian Federation investigation itself up to the point of his departure from the FBI, given legal considerations and the fact that key evidence is likely to be classified.

Some critics of Trump have said that such a request, especially given that he later fired Comey, could be interpreted as an obstruction of justice.

"And in fact, when I made a decision to just do it, I said to myself - I said, you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story", Trump continued.

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