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NY Times: Trump Not Planning to Invoke Executive Privilege for Comey Testimony

  • VOA News

FILE: FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly does not plan to invoke executive privilege in an attempt to prevent former FBI director James Comey from disclosing potentially harmful information to Congress about statements Trump made about his embattled former national security director.

The decision was reported by the New York Times, which attributed information about the decision to unnamed senior officials with the Trump administration.

On Saturday, a White House spokesperson directed a question about the New York Times report to outside counsel -- which did not immediately respond to a request comment.

FILE - White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes a question during a press briefing at the White House.
FILE - White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes a question during a press briefing at the White House.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Friday he was unaware if the president would try to block Comey's testimony.

"I have not spoken to counsel yet. I don't know how they're going to respond," Spicer said.

As FBI director, Comey was leading the agency's probe into Russian interference in last year's presidential election and into whether Trump campaign aides illegally colluded with Russia before Trump fired Comey last month.

The former FBI chief is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also conducting an investigation into the election and possible collusion.

FILE - Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy stand as President Donald Trump shakes hands with FBI Director James Comey during a reception for inaugural law enforcement officers and first responders in the Blue Room of the White House.
FILE - Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy stand as President Donald Trump shakes hands with FBI Director James Comey during a reception for inaugural law enforcement officers and first responders in the Blue Room of the White House.

Comey is expected to tell lawmakers about several discussions he had with Trump, including one during which the president urged him to stop investigating former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Trump fired Flynn in February amid reports that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is one of four congressional probes into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia and Moscow's meddling in the election. In addition, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate whether Trump campaign aides illegally colluded with Russia.

Demonstrators make their way around downtown, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention after some of the 19,000 emails, presumably stolen from the DNC by hackers, were posted to the website Wikileaks.
Demonstrators make their way around downtown, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention after some of the 19,000 emails, presumably stolen from the DNC by hackers, were posted to the website Wikileaks.

The investigations began after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia hacked Democratic National Committee computer servers last year with the intent of inflicting damage on the campaign of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, who political analysts say, Russian President Vladimir Putin despised.

Trump has dismissed allegations of collusion and the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at disrupting the November election. Putin has repeated there is no evidence of Kremlin involvement in the election.

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