Trump will not use powers to stop Comey's testimony

When asked what message he had for ex-FBI chief James Comey before he testified on Thursday, President Trump said, 'I wish him luck', as he met with GOP leaders at the White House. VIDEO: REUTERS
The White House had earlier floated the idea that President Donald Trump could invoke executive privilege to protect the confidentiality of presidential discussions and stop ousted FBI director James Comey from testifying, but some aides were wary th
The White House had earlier floated the idea that President Donald Trump could invoke executive privilege to protect the confidentiality of presidential discussions and stop ousted FBI director James Comey from testifying, but some aides were wary that it could look too much like a cover-up.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Ex-FBI director's testimony will facilitate thorough examination of facts: White House

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump will not use his presidential powers to prevent former FBI director James Comey from testifying to Congress tomorrow, according to the White House, setting the stage for potentially explosive testimony later this week.

Most major American TV networks plan to carry the event live, and some bars in the capital are even opening early for viewing parties.

The ousted FBI director will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a hearing that is sure to be replete with political drama and intrigue. Mr Comey's testimony will be his first public remarks since he was summarily fired by Mr Trump early last month, and represents a moment of great peril for the already embattled leader.

Mr Comey's sacking came as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probed possible collusion between the President's election campaign team and Russia. He will face a barrage of questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers about the circumstances of his firing, as well as allegations that Mr Trump tried to get him to shelve the investigation of certain aides. Mr Comey is said to have written detailed notes about three conversations he had with Mr Trump.

The memos reportedly document the President's efforts to get the FBI to ease the investigation's focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Any confirmation that Mr Trump tried to press Mr Comey would open the President to damaging allegations that he attempted to obstruct an ongoing FBI investigation.

Any confirmation that Mr Trump tried to press Mr Comey would open the President to damaging allegations that he attempted to obstruct an ongoing FBI investigation.

The White House earlier floated the idea that Mr 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 White House said in a statement that Mr Comey's testimony would "facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts".

Meanwhile, an official said Mr Trump will not set up a "war room" in the White House to serve as a rapid-response team to answer accusations involving the probe into his campaign's ties to Russia. The official added it made more sense to have any Russia "war room" operations outside of the White House.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Trump will not use powers to stop Comey's testimony'. Print Edition | Subscribe