Former FBI chief James Comey will likely not accuse President Donald Trump
of attempting to interfere with an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia when he testifies in Congress this week, legal sources said.
Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday and his testimony could be a turning point in a controversy that has badly affected Trump’s administration.
This will be the first public remarks by Comey since the president fired him last month and he is expected to say that Trump asked him, during a meeting in the Oval Office, to end the FBI’s probe into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia.
Two legal experts, however, told Reuters that Comey would want to avoid compromising a new inquiry led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or separate congressional investigations.
“I would expect him to hew pretty closely to facts and events,” said Jack Sharman, a partner at Lightfoot, Franklin and White and former special counsel to a congressional committee that investigated former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Another source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Comey does not consider it his responsibility to press charges against the president or anyone else with regards to obstruction of justice or any other crime.
Also, according to an ABC source, Comey will “stop short” of claiming that Trump interfered or tried to call off the FBI’s investigation.
Comey has kept his detailed notes of his conversations with Trump and was apparently pressured by him to let go of Flynn.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” The New York Times quoted Trump as saying in a private meeting.