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Trump mulling gag on public testimony of ex-FBI chief

TRUMP MULLING GAG ON PUBLIC TESTIMONY OF EX-FBI CHIEF

Kellyanne Conway told ABC's morning program Good Morning America that Trump is determining whether to use his presidential powers to block James Comey from testifying.

President Donald Trump is weighing whether he will invoke executive privilege to prevent the former FBI director from giving public testimony, a top Trump aide said Friday.

Kellyanne Conway told ABC's morning program Good Morning America that Trump is determining whether to use his presidential powers to block James Comey, whom Trump abruptly fired last month, from testifying.

When asked about the matter, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he had not yet spoken to the White House's legal counsel to determine their recommendation on the matter.

Presidents are allowed to invoke executive privilege to prevent their private conversations from being made public. But Trump's ability to muzzle Comey could be stunted by the fact that he has already written a public letter and used Twitter to discuss the conversations.

Also potentially stymying the move is Comey's current status as a private citizen rather than a serving official.

Comey is scheduled to participate in a hotly anticipated open hearing before the Senate intelligence committee next Thursday. He is expected to address reports that Trump sought to have him end an investigation into a former top official, and sought a loyalty pledge from the independent former FBI chief.

Comey is only the second FBI director to be terminated from office since the bureau's founding in 1908.

The timing of Comey's firing, as the FBI probes possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign team and Russia's attempts to influence the election, has stirred controversy, even among some members of Trump's party.

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