President Donald Trump could invoke executive privilege to prevent fired FBI director James Comey from delivering his scheduled testimony before Congress next week, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway suggested Friday.
Conway first told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the Trump team would be “watching with the rest of the world” to see what Comey said in his congressional testimony.
Then, asked directly if Trump would use his presidential authority to block Comey’s testimony, Conway hedged: “The President will make that decision.”
Trump unceremoniously fired Comey in early May, citing his handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state and the ongoing federal probe into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.
Comey is expected to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump pressured him to stop the bureau from investigating Trump’s fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to CNN.
A number of damning reports about the President’s interactions with Comey came out soon after Comey’s abrupt departure from the FBI. Comey reportedly kept detailed, contemporaneous memos of his conversations with Trump, which included requests that the FBI director swear loyalty to him and a personal plea to quash the Flynn investigation. Trump also bragged to Russian officials that Comey’s dismissal lifted the “great pressure” that the sprawling Russia probe put on his administration, according to the New York Times.
Conway attempted to cast doubt on the former FBI director’s credibility in her interview with ABC. She pointed to a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein criticizing Comey’s public statements about the Clinton email server case, which the administration initially used to justify Comey’s firing. Trump undercut that narrative just days later by saying he dismissed Comey in part because of the “Russia thing.”
What Comey is allowed to say publicly will be constrained by the ongoing federal investigation, which is now being led by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller. Mueller and Comey have conferred about the parameters of his testimony.