President Trump will not claim executive privilege to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before Congress later this week, the White House confirmed on Monday.
At the daily White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president wants a “thorough investigation of facts,” in reference to Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee this Thursday.
“The president’s power to assert executive privilege is very well-established. However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony,” Huckabee Sanders said, reading a statement on the matter to reporters on Monday.
The statement marked the first firm answer from the administration on whether the president would use his executive privilege, a legal doctrine that allows the president to withhold information from other government branches.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer fielded reporter questions on the matter but didn’t rule out the executive privilege option.
“That committee hearing was just noticed – it’s gotta be reviewed,” Spicer said Friday. “The date for the hearing was just set. I haven’t spoken to counsel yet, I don’t know how they’ll respond.”
Reports suggest that Comey will tell the Intelligence Committee on Thursday that Trump asked him to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his ties and relationships with Russian officials.
As FBI director, Comey was known for penning memos after meetings and, in February, wrote a memo that reportedly said Trump asked him to shut down the probe into Flynn. Fox News confirmed the memo’s existence.
Fox News' John Roberts and Lesa Jansen contributed to this report.