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Judiciary Dems warn Trump about trying to block Comey testimony

Judiciary Dems warn Trump about trying to block Comey testimony
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Democratic lawmakers on Friday warned President Trump about any attempt to block former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump has list of top intelligence officials he'll fire if he wins reelection: report Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Trump remarks put pressure on Barr MORE's testimony before Congress next week.

In a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn, top Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee pushed back on Trump potentially invoking executive privilege in an attempt to block Comey's testimony.

Democrats wrote that "any such assertion of privilege is almost certainly baseless, particularly given that Mr. Comey is no longer employed by the Trump Administration."

"We urge you in the strongest possible terms to counsel the President accordingly," wrote Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the panel's ranking member, and six other Democrats on the committee.

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"Any assertion of privilege by the President would be seen as an effort to obstruct the truth from both Congress and the American people," they added.

Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday as part of the panel's probe into Russia's interference in the election and any ties to the Trump campaign.

The White House on Friday wouldn't rule out that Trump may attempt to invoke presidential privilege to try to block Comey's testimony about his conversations with Trump.

In his conversations with Comey, Trump allegedly pressured the FBI director to ease off his former national security adviser Michael Flynn and requested the law enforcement official's loyalty.

But Trump has spoken publicly about his talks with Comey before he fired him last month. Experts say that in doing so, Trump likely waived his ability to invoke executive privilege.

The Judiciary Committee Democrats said Friday that two types of executive privilege aimed at protecting presidential communications could be applicable in the Comey case, but said "neither aspect of executive privilege would likely apply."

"In short, use of executive privilege to block Mr. Comey's testimony would be a mistake," they wrote the White House Counsel.

"We caution you that it would fail on the merits. We also warn you that the public would likely––perhaps rightly––view the decision as additional evidence of obstruction of justice."