President Trump won’t block FBI Director James B. Comey from testifying before a Senate panel on Thursday in what is shaping up as must-see political theater in the ongoing Russia election hacking scandal, while the government yesterday charged a federal contractor with leaking classified material to the media in the case.
“In order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not exert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders during yesterday’s press briefing.
Trump could have barred Comey from testifying by arguing his remarks would jeopardize national security, but it would have also likely raised suspicions against the president.
Comey reportedly will testify that Trump attempted to steer him away from investigating ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of the FBI’s ongoing probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Also on senators’ minds is the question of whether Comey reassured Trump three times — as the president has asserted — that he is not the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.
Republicans are about to find out whether all the drama of the Comey testimony — perhaps the most anticipated congressional hearing of the year — will still allow them room to work on an Obamacare replacement bill.
The Wall Street Journal reported that GOP leaders are planning to meet with rank-and-file Republican senators today on key details of the bill, which they hope to pass before the Fourth of July recess.
Also yesterday, Trump continued to berate London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter for his response to the London Bridge terror attacks.
“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!” Trump tweeted, using an abbreviation for the “mainstream media.”
But Sanders at the White House briefing downplayed any bad blood: “I don’t see that the president is picking a fight with the mayor of London at all.”
But Khan shot back with his own call for British officials to cancel a planned state visit by Trump.
“I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” Khan told Britain’s Channel 4 News.
Meanwhile, the FBI arrested a 25-year-old contractor with top secret clearance, Reality Leigh Winner, for allegedly leaking documents to an unnamed media website, which news reports indicated was The Intercept. The leaked NSA report claims Russia hacked a U.S. voting software supplier and sent infected emails to more than 100 local election officials last November, but stopped short of suggesting the cyberattack changed the outcome of the vote.
The feds claim Winner was one of six employees to print the report and the only one who had email contact with The Intercept.
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