White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday did not rule out the possibility that President Trump might invoke executive privilege to try to stop former FBI director James Comey from testifying Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Comey associates have alleged that Trump asked the FBI director if he could drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his Russian contacts.
As president, Trump could technically invoke executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying, but legal experts disagree as to whether or not it's applicable in this situation.
James Comey could be blocked from testifying about his firing by President Donald Trump, with the White House reportedly considering a controversial measure to keep the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director from appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week.
The White House is offering no comment on whether it will claim executive privilege ahead of Comey's scheduled testimony. Nunes recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation after he was criticized for being too close to the White House.
The committee on Wednesday issued seven subpoenas seeking testimony and information in its investigation into Russian activities during the election.
Reuters has reported that Flynn and Trump's son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, discussed with Kislyak the idea of creating a back channel between Trump and Putin that could have bypassed diplomats and intelligence agencies. "Given the manner in which Mr. Comey was dismissed, that inquiry has expanded to include questions of obstruction of justice".
The requests to unmask the names of Trump associates underwent the same stringent evaluations that USA privacy laws and intelligence regulations require for all such applications, and they produced nothing out of the ordinary, said the four officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The scope of Comey's testimony was not exactly clear, though Mueller was permitting him to speak publicly, an associate told the AP. Comey reportedly detailed that request, as well as other interactions with the president, in a series of memos.
The Justice Department and multiple U.S. congressional committees are investigating Russia's actions in the 2016 presidential election and questions about possible collusion between Russian officials and Trump campaign associates. Why would Trump say that before Comey had a chance to respond to Trump's version of the meetings? There is only one reason I can think of - Trump lied.
One of these notes, allegedly written by Comey, was recently leaked and it appears to reveal Trump directly asking Comey to kill the Flynn investigation.
Trump talked about his conversations with Comey in TV interviews and on Twitter, making it hard for him to claim that they should be kept confidential now, Rozell said. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government sought to influence the USA election in Mr Trump's favour, a charge Russia has denied.
The initial decision to fire Comey presented similar concerns and pitfalls for the administration as the current decision whether or not to try to halt his testimony does.