Despite speculation that President Trump may seek executive privilege to prevent his former Federal Bureau of Investigation director- James Comey- from testifying next week before the Senate, two senior administration officials reportedly said there is no plan to hinder the testimony.
Yet Trump may have weakened that argument by publicly disclosing elements of his conversations with Comey, including during an interview in May with NBC News and via Twitter, where the president said on May 12, "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
After Trump fired Sally Q. Yates, the acting attorney general, in January and Congress asked her to testify, the Trump administration told her that some of her conversations with White House officials were covered by executive privilege - and in her testimony, she said she meant to respect certain limits on divulging privileged information. He said the committee hearing was just set and "it has to be reviewed".
"I have not spoken to counsel yet, I don't know how they're going to respond", he said.
Sewell: Shouldn't the American people be concerned what - I think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he wouldn't know that he should've disclosed that he received $30,000 as a part of - of a speaking engagement to RT, the Russian United States anti-propaganda outlet.
In other words, they say, the President can't use the privilege as a sword in one context and a shield in another. In one memo, Comey reportedly wrote that Trump asked him to back off of investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. First, even if they were to succeed in keeping him from testifying publicly in front of Congress, they nearly certainly would not succeed in keeping him from testifying for the special counsel's criminal investigation.
President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege in a bid to stop Congress from seeing records about Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-smuggling investigation that lost track of about 1,400 guns.
Legal experts said Trump doesn't have a good legal argument to invoke the privilege to block Comey's testimony. Trump likely would argue that Comey's testimony involves confidential conversations or matters of national security. "The exception would be any conversations that haven't yet been made public, by Comey or by Trump, assuming such conversations exist".
Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, who served as the chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, said he had no idea what Comey might say. That they - they assessed that they really wanted Trump to win it and were working to help him win and her lose. Trump faces another hurdle if he tries to block Comey's testimony. Besides, even if Trump invoked the privilege, Comey would still be able to testify unless the White House somehow got a judge to issue an injunction, which experts say would be highly unlikely.