President Donald Trump will not block former FBI James Comey from testifying before a Senate panel on Thursday.
Asked about the White House’s Friday confirmation that its lawyers were reviewing whether executive privilege would apply to Trump’s conversations with Comey, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president would not do so.
“The President’s power to assert executive privilege is well-established,” Sanders said, reading from a short statement blasted out soon after by the White House. “However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday said whether or not to play the executive privilege card has “got to be reviewed.”
“The date for the hearing was just set,” Spicer said. “I haven’t spoken to counsel yet, I don’t know how they’ll respond.”
The answer came three days later, and sets up a high-stakes public hearing as the Senate committee continues its investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible nefarious ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
“The privilege that allows the president and other high officials of the executive branch to keep certain communications private if disclosing those communications would disrupt the functions or decision-making processes of the executive branch,” according to Cornell Law School.