President Donald Trump has the power to block former FBI Director James Comey whom he fired last month from giving congressional testimony next week. White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Friday that Trump will decide next week whether he will invoke such presidential power or not.
“The President will make that decision,” Conway said in an interview with ABC News.
The ousted Comey is scheduled to testify on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee in both an open session and behind closed doors. The hearings are expected to discuss issues on the investigations into the alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election last year and supposed potential collusion by Trump’s campaign team. Other political observers also expect Comey to testify whether Trump tried to influence his agency’s probes, especially on the accusation that the President asked the former intelligence chief to drop the investigation on former national security adviser Mike Flynn whose ties with Russia are also under scrutiny.
Legal experts believe Trump could invoke a doctrine called executive privilege to try to block Comey from testifying. Some say, however, that such maneuver, could also draw a backlash. The move can also be challenged in court.
Comey was ousted on May 9 in a surprise move by the President that shocked the political world.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied the allegations that it is behind moves to influence the U.S. presidential election last year. On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said that some nationalistic Russian hackers may have acted on their own, though. Trump for his part has strongly denied any collusion from his campaign team.