Donald Trump will not use presidential powers to prevent the ex-FBI director James Comey from testifying to Congress Thursday, the White House said, setting the stage for potentially explosive testimony later this week.
The ousted FBI director will appear Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee for a hearing sure to be replete with political drama and intrigue.
Most major US television networks plan to carry the event live. Some bars in the US capital are even planning to open early for viewing parties.
Comey’s testimony will be the first public remarks since he was summarily fired by Trump in early May, and represent a moment of great peril for this already embattled president. Comey’s sacking came as the Federal Bureau of Investigation probes possible collusion between the president’s election campaign team and Russia — which US intelligence believes hoped to tilt the election in the Republican’s favor.
He will face a barrage of questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers about the circumstances of his firing, as well as allegations that Trump tried to get Comey to shelve the investigation of his aides.
Comey is said to have written detailed notes about three conversations he had with Trump while still FBI director.
The memorandums reportedly document the president’s efforts to get the FBI to ease the investigation’s focus on former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Any confirmation that Trump tried to press Comey would open the president to damaging allegations that he attempted to obstruct an ongoing FBI investigation.