The White House is not ruling out the possibility of invoking executive privilege to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week.
During Friday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer dodged a question about the hearing, saying that he has not had a chance to talk to White House lawyers about Comey’s testimony, which is scheduled for next Thursday.
“Is the White House going to invoke executive privilege to prevent James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence panel next week?” Spicer was asked.
“That committee hearing was just noticed, and I think obviously it’s got to be reviewed,” he said.
“My understanding is that the date for that hearing was just set. I have not spoken to counsel yet, I don’t know how they’re going to respond,” Spicer continued.
Comey is expected to testify in both open and closed settings about his discussions with President Trump about the ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the presidential campaign.
Comey associates have said that he will likely testify that Trump asked him to end the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey is said to have written a memo following a Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting he had with Trump.
In a May 9 letter informing Comey of his firing, Trump asserted that the FBI chief had informed him on three occasions that he was not under investigation as part of the Russia probe. If Comey testifies, he will likely be asked about those claims.
Robert Mueller, the former FBI director appointed special counsel overseeing the investigation, gave Comey the all-clear to testify next week.
Earlier on Friday, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also did not rule out the possibility of Trump attempting to block Comey from speaking at the hearing.