Trump won't assert executive privilege to block Comey's testimony

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Former FBI Director James Comey is "looking forward to having the opportunity to publicly share his thoughts and views" at Thursday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Chairman Richard Burr said Monday.

"The president's power to assert executive privilege is well-established", spokeswoman Sarah 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 former bureau chief is scheduled to appear before the Senate panel on Thursday, where he is expected to be asked about his discussions with Trump regarding the investigation of Russia's reputed interference in last year's election.

Comey's appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia-related investigation will be his first public testimony since his firing on 9 May.

Former FBI Director James Comey. Comey was subsequently fired by Trump in May.

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Comey is expected to be questioned about the circumstances of his firing and allegations that Trump has tried to stifle the agency's Russian Federation investigation and divert attention to intelligence leaks that have hurt his administration.

Comey is scheduled to speak publicly for the first time since he was sacked and since several news outlets reported that his memos showed that Trump sought to persuade him to drop his probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Presidents can assert executive privilege to prevent government employees from sharing information.

It was not clear that Trump would have succeeded in stopping Comey from testifying had he chosen to cite executive privilege.

Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, said a person who was given a copy of a memo Comey wrote about the conversation. "You don't do that I think by invoking executive privilege on a conversation you had apparently with nobody else in the room".

Should Comey deliver devastating testimony on any of those questions that suggests Trump obstructed justice, he will significantly worsen the political challenges facing the President.

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