President Donald J. Trump doesn’t favor invoking what is known as executive privilege to prevent former FBI Director James Comey from testifying Thursday. The President “has nothing to hide” and hopes the public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee will put an end to the speculation he was or is the target of an investigation, multiple sources tell People’s Pundit Daily.
Executive privilege is a legal loophole that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches. Barack Obama invoked executive privilege during Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, which prevented Congress from questioning then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that he worries the public hearing will turn into a “hit job” on the President, adding that a “one-sided” hearing would be the worst possible outcome for the country.
“Here’s what I worry about: that he’ll just focus on his conversations with the president and not answer any other questions because of the investigation,” he said during an interview on “America’s Newsroom” Thursday. “That would be a hit job on President Trump and I hope this hearing doesn’t become a hit job on President Trump.”
Mr. Comey was cleared to testify by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, another former FBI director now overseeing the investigation into all things Russia. Democrats are expected to use his testimony to focus on the private meetings the former FBI director had with the President Trump, during which media reports claimed he was asked to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
But the New York Times quoted the President in the memo as saying he “hoped” Lt. Gen. Flynn wasn’t prosecuted because he was a “good man,” to which Comey replied he agreed he was a good man. Democrats cited the report as proof of obstruction of justice, something legal experts mocked.
“Those who don’t know the first thing about the law immediately began hurling words like ‘obstruction of justice’, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and ‘impeachment’,” Gregg Jarrett, a former defense attorney who now works as a Fox News Anchor, wrote at the time in a piece entitled “Comey’s revenge is a gun without powder.”
Jarrett also said that Mr. Comey put himself in a box because, if he felt at the time the conversation rose to obstruction, he was obligated to report it. Further, Mr. Comey said on May 3 that neither President Trump nor anyone from the White House ever tried to hinder an FBI investigation.
“Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States,” Jarret noted. “Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.”
But as Sen. Graham noted, it’s the political component to the testimony that the President’s political enemies in the Democratic Party and the media are hoping to wield as a weapon against him. He said, while he likes Mr. Comey, he believes he is “probably upset” about getting firing by President Trump.
On the allegations of collusion, Sen. Graham said he has seen no evidence anyone from the Trump campaign worked with Russian officials to influence the election. He emphasized there was “zero evidence that Trump himself” took any such action and Mr. Comey should be honest with the American people.
“I don’t believe he is,” he said when asked if the President was the target of an investigation. “There’s a cloud over the presidency that needs to be removed if the facts justify it.”