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White House: Trump Will Not Block Ex-FBI Director's Testimony

Former FBI Director James Comey

The White House says President Donald Trump will not exert his executive privilege to prevent former FBI director James Comey from testifying before Congress.

Comey is set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 for a public hearing into Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election, before addressing senators privately later in the day.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters that the president's power to invoke privilege was "well-established."

But she said Trump would not take that step in order to ensure a "swift and thorough examination of the facts" related to Comey's firing and the investigations into Russia's alleged meddling.

The White House could have sought to block Comey's testimony, claiming executive privilege, a legal precedent by which the president can shield his conversations.

Comey was fired on May 9 by Trump.

U.S. media reports have since said that Comey may have been pressured by Trump while he was in charge of the FBI to end the bureau’s investigation into matters related to alleged Russian interference in the election.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa