(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump does not plan to invoke executive privilege as a way to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying to Congress next week, the New York Times said on Friday citing two unnamed senior administration officials.
On Saturday, a White House spokesperson referred a question about the Times’ story to outside council. Outside council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Comey was leading a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election and possible collusion by Trump’s campaign when the president fired him last month.
On Friday, White House officials said that they did not know yet whether President Donald Trump would seek to block Comey’s testimony, a move that could spark a political backlash.
“I have not spoken to counsel yet. I don’t know how they’re going to respond,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Friday.
The former FBI chief is due to testify on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its own Russia-related investigation, and his remarks could cause problems for the Republican president.
Presidents can assert executive privilege to prevent government employees from sharing information. However, legal experts say it is not clear whether certain conversations between Trump and Comey that the president has talked about publicly would be covered, and any effort to block Comey, who is now a private citizen, from testifying could be challenged in court.
(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, D.C., Editing by Franklin Paul)