Despite speculation that President Trump may seek executive privilege to prevent his former FBI director– James Comey– from testifying next week before the Senate, two senior administration officials reportedly said there is no plan to hinder the testimony.
The New York Times reported that one official said that Trump actually wants Comey to testify because the president has nothing to hide.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked Friday whether Trump would seek executive privilege to prevent Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.
“That committee hearing was just noticed – it’s gotta be reviewed,” Spicer said. “The date for the hearing was just set. I haven’t spoken to counsel yet, I don’t know how they’ll respond.”
Comey was fired last month as FBI director amid a federal investigation into connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The Senate intelligence committee announced Comey’s appearance, and a Comey associate said he had been cleared to testify by Robert Mueller, another former FBI director now overseeing that investigation as special counsel.
Comey’s testimony probably will focus on the private meetings the former FBI director had with Trump and subsequently chronicled in internal memos and recounted to associates who have divulged their contents to The Associated Press and other media outlets.
Comey’s associates have said Comey told them that Trump asked him at a January dinner to pledge his loyalty to the president and, at an Oval Office meeting weeks later, asked Comey to consider ending an FBI investigation into Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
The White House has denied those characterizations.
A White House official told Fox News the White House is reviewing whether or not to invoke executive privilege regarding Comey’s expected testimony. Executive privilege is a legal doctrine that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches.
Legal experts told The Times that Trump does not have a strong case to invoke the privilege due to his public acknowledgement of his conversations with Comey.
The paper also points out that President Obama used the privilege once while in office during a congressional inquiry into how weapons ended up with Mexican cartels.