Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

What was James Comey thinking when he met with Trump?

Erik Tate | 07 June, 2017, 18:43

A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) in the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., on February 28, 2017 and FBI Director James Comey in Washington U.S. on July 7, 2016.

"We need to hear directly from Mr. Comey on these important issues", Collins told "Face the Nation".

It appears to be a formalization of a practice that had already taken hold, as Democrats have complained that their oversight letters requesting information from agencies have gone unanswered since January, and the Trump administration has not yet explained the rationale.

Additionally, he may be impeded in answering questions about the conversations everyone really wants to know about: those that Comey had with the President. Why?

While the department has compiled a long list of candidates for the White House, there has been no "clear framework or logic for who was interviewed and why", said one of the sources.

Comey, who was leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe into alleged Russian meddling in last year's USA presidential election, was sacked by Trump last month, four years into his 10-year term.

President Trump is not expected to invoke executive privilege in an attempt to block FBI Director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week.

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The White House faces a dilemma over whether to block Comey's highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing any ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Former CIA director John Brennan said last month he had noticed contacts between Trump's campaign associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 election and grew concerned Moscow had sought to lure Americans down "a treasonous path". If Trump pressured Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, as Comey is expected to testify, then Trump may have engaged in obstruction of justice, according to some lawyers. It is extremely concerned about what Comey is going to say, and it makes sense to use every trick in the book to try and stop him from publicly humiliating the President.

The president has the authority to block testimony by his current or former aides by invoking executive privilege. But legal experts have said that Mr. Trump has a weak case to invoke executive privilege because he has publicly addressed his conversations with Mr. Comey, and any such move could carry serious political risks.

Executive privilege is a legal loophole that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches. Trump's argument in favor of privilege also may be overcome because the investigation is focused on corruption and possible obstruction of justice.

The president and Congress typically hammer out a compromise when they disagree about whether privilege can be asserted, said Rozell. The White House is anxious that Comey will have a very different version of those discussions and that he felt pressured by Trump to drop the pending investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But as Comey's time in the hot seat approaches, the White House has suggested that what Trump may do - or not do, rather - will set him apart from Nixon in a very real way.

Trump also said in an interview that he was thinking of "this Russian Federation thing" when he chose to fire Comey.

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