WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump will not use executive privilege over former FBI Director James Comey as he is set to testify this week on Capitol Hill.
A statement from Press Secretary Sean Spicer released Monday afternoon read:
The President’s power to assert executive privilege is well-established. 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.
The White House will not try to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before Congress this week.
“President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s testimony,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a news briefing Monday.
Sanders told reporters that the president’s right to “assert executive privilege is well-established” but that the White House wants to “facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts.”
Comey is testifying Thursday before Congress, his first public comments since Trump fired him last month.The fired FBI director is expected to speak about any of his private conversations with the president that included talk about the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Comey reportedly kept detailed notes of his discussions with Trump, including one in which the president allegedly pressured him to ease off a probe into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and another in which Trump asked for his loyalty.
Last week, the White House refused to rule out the possibility that Trump would use executive privilege to stop Comey’s testimony.
Legal experts warned that any attempt to block Comey’s testimony would likely fail, especially since Trump has commented publicly about his talks with the former director. Such a claim would certainly add fuel to the political firestorm surrounding the Russia probe.
— Updated at 2:44 p.m.
Breitbart and The Hill contributed to this report.