White House aide says Russia probe 'detracts' from agenda

Alyssa Bailey
June 6, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump will not assert executive privilege to block fired FBI Director James Comey from testifying on Capitol Hill, the White House said Monday, setting the stage for a dramatic public airing of the former top law enforcement official's dealings with the commander in chief.

Most major U.S. television networks plan to carry the event live.

Comey's testimony is expected to be explosive and will be closely watched throughout Washington, where the focus on the Russia's involvement in the 2016 campaign, the country's connections to Trump associates and aides and attempts by Trump use Comey to squash investigations is growing stronger.

Mr Comey is said to have written detailed notes about three conversations he had with Mr Trump while still Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

And he is dismissing as "a load of nonsense" the idea that Russian Federation has damaging information on President Donald Trump.

Yet Trump may have weakened that argument by publicly disclosing elements of his conversations with Comey, including during an interview in May with NBC News and via Twitter, where the president said on May 12, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”.

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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.

"The president's power to exert executive privilege is very well-established", Sanders said.

Trump's office put an end to that speculation on Monday, saying: "President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey's scheduled testimony". The president and aides can not be compelled to testify about private conversations, but Comey is appearing before senators voluntarily. A special counsel appointed by the Justice Department as well as congressional committees are investigating.

He reportedly has met with Comey to discuss the probe, and Comey reportedly sought his approval to testify before lawmakers.

USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation meddled in the presidential election to hurt the bid of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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