Former FBI Director James Comey will be delivering his testimony this morning before the Senate Intelligence Committee to talk about his firing and the Russia investigation. This will be the first time Comey has spoken publicly since he was fired by President Trump.
The hearing starts at 10am ET and will be carried live on broadcast networks and on cable news. Here’s a live stream from CBS News:
Some background on the hearing from Wired:
It’s almost showtime in Washington, DC. On Thursday, former FBI director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee for the first time since he was fired in the midst of an ongoing investigation into a possible connection between Trump campaign officials and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The committee called Comey to testify several weeks ago. His opening remarks, already public, set the stage for an explosive hearing. He confirms a few pivotal, previously reported interactions: Yes, President Trump did request a loyalty pledge. Yes, he did ask Comey to let go of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. And yes, Comey has the receipts (or, in this case, meticulously kept memos) for each of their nine one-on-one conversations. For political pundits and DC dwellers, it might as well be Christmas morning.
“This is the John Dean moment, if you want to compare it to Watergate,” says Nick Akerman, a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, referring to the former White House counsel whose Senate testimony ultimately implicated President Nixon in the Watergate cover-up. “It’s going to be the first time the American public is going to hear what these conversations were about. Right now, we’re just getting it second-hand in press reports.”
The constant drip of anonymous leaks in the press, coupled with the reciprocal rebuttals and denials from the White House, have made the investigation a bit maddening to follow. Comey’s testimony could provide some clarity, if not sanity. Since you won’t want to miss it, here’s a handy primer to tomorrow’s senatorial showdown.
We don’t know yet if there is anything that comes close to “Watergate” status, that’s the point of Comey’s testimony. He shared his written statement yesterday, which basically said a lot of what we already know, that Trump asked Comey for “loyalty,” but Comey only could promise “honesty.” Some are interpreting that already as a means by which Trump was attempting to obstruct justice but we’ll see how that actually plays out and how Comey responds to the questioning on his statement.
So far, Trump’s twitter feed is quiet this morning, let’s see if it remains that way by the time this hearing is over.
CNN gives you five things to watch for in the hearing this morning, here’s a tidbit:
1. The former FBI director will testify under oath that the President asked him to drop an investigation into one of his top allies
It’s impossible to lose sight of the most important items to emerge from the Russia investigations thus far: Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn.
If you’re a Democrat, that sounds like obstruction of justice (and possible grounds for impeachment.) If you’re a Republican, it may sound like a political novice asking his aide to help one of his friends. But it is one of the most important, and prominent, developments in the sprawling web of the Russia investigations.
Coverage has already begun, watch the live stream above for the hearing to begin at 10am ET.