President Donald Trump will not assert executive privilege to block fired FBI Director James Comey from testifying on Capitol Hill, the White House said Monday, setting the stage for a dramatic public airing of the former top law enforcement official's dealings with the commander in chief.
"The president's power to assert executive privilege is well-established", the White House said in a statement, adding that Comey's testimony would "facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts".
Comey is scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee.
Former FBI Director James Comey.
The Russia investigation is expected to be a key part of Comey's high-profile testimony on Thursday.
Some legal analysts had questioned whether Trump could have blocked Comey's testimony via executive privilege in any event.
Senators are expected to grill Comey - in both an open and a closed panel - on certain conversations with Trump or his aides, including one in which Trump reportedly asked Comey to drop an investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation and Turkey.
The Washington scandal machine went into overdrive when The New York Times reported that Trump had told a high-level Russian delegation in the Oval Office that Comey was a "nut job" and that firing him had eased "great pressure" on him. The Supreme Court has found that presidents enjoy a right to confidentiality in communications with their advisers but it is not an absolute privilege and courts have overriden such claims in the past.
Comey is said to have written detailed notes about three conversations he had with Trump while still Federal Bureau of Investigation director.
Anticipation over Comey's appearance will return the administration to a state of siege, which has been partially lifted in recent weeks during Trump's foreign trip and the build up to his decision to quit the Paris climate pact.
"They've talked, and I understand the special counsel has not fenced him off in any way, shape or form on the items he intends to talk about", said Burr.
It would also move 30,000 government workers into the private sector and was billed by the White House as a first step towards fulfilling Mr Trump's...