As we close in on the most anticipated congressional hearing since Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony, the mainstream media is having a feeding frenzy - deploying countdown clocks, round the clock coverage about former FBI Director James Comey, a ceaseless stream of special guests speculating whether or not there was obstruction of justice during the Russian investigation, and of course the ever looming cumulonimbus possibility of Presidential impeachment that the Democrats are so adamant about.
In typical Comey “showboat” fashion, his statement was released less than a day prior to his hearing via the Senate Intelligence Committee. While most people were expecting a Comey vs. Trump showdown, in reality, what we saw in his opening statement is quite different. The former FBI director detailed in memos his 9 accounts with President Trump.
This is what we know. Comey told Trump he wasn't being investigated multiple times. Trump asked for Comey’s “loyalty" and even wanted Comey to investigate his associates, to clear his campaign from any collusion ties with Russia. In his statement Comey said, “The President went on to say that if there were some “satellite” associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him….He finished by stressing “the cloud” that was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn’t being investigated.” Even in the 2/14 memo where James Comey depicts the President saying “I hope you can let this go” referring to the Michael Flynn investigation, there still is no evidence of obstruction, just Trump asking a wildly inappropriate question no doubt. Comey even said that this statement didn’t matter due to the ongoing investigation. Jonathan Hurley hit the nail on the head in his article in the Hill, stating “This conversation in the Oval Office is a valid matter of concern and worthy of further investigation. It is not proof of an impeachable offense any more than it is proof of a crime.”
What to Watch For
Thursday at 10:00 AM EST, ousted FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and vice-chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-V.A.) on his conversations with President Trump about the Russia Investigation, due to the allegation that the President asked the former FBI director to end his probe looking into ties between the Trump Campaign and the Russians as well as the FBI Investigation of Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. For reasons pertaining to national security, Comey will most likely not address the current state of the Russian investigation - despite the media’s constant watchful vigil. Eric Lichtblau, an investigative reporter for the Washington bureau of the New York Times, who has covered Comey for the past 14 years said that “he has a flair for the dramatic, he does not shy away from the spotlight in the way that other people in his position have. And he is quite comfortable there, his critics would say he is too comfortable there, Trump has been among them.” With his extensive background as a lawyer, Comey will bring precisely crafted arguments and seamless statements to his hearing in hopes of restoring his own reputation as well of that of the FBI after months of being called a partisan due to his handling of the Clinton email probe, which some say cost her the election.
Only Time Will Tell
You can bet your bottom dollar that if this hearing goes south for Trump, he will take to his favorite form of communication - 140 characters of unfiltered angst on Twitter. The meticulously crafted work of Comey and his team will be prepared for all kinds of questions from the committee tomorrow. Even with the early release of Comey’s statement, there is so much unknown and unanswered that the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee will grill the former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director on in the morning. So before we jump to any wild accusations or allegations let’s listen to what goes down on the Hill tomorrow.