At 10 am Thursday, former director of the FBI James Comey will be testifying in the grand setting of the US Congress on possible links between US President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in an effort to meddle in the US Election 2016 that Trump won on November 8 last year.
Comey will be responding to questions from the 19 member Intel committee – 10 Republicans side and 9 Democrats.
Included in this committee are California Senator Kamala Harris, a young and upcoming Senator from Arkansas Tom Cotton seen as a strong 2020 candidate and Marco Rubio who fought in the Presidential primaries against Trump.
“I am hopeful that he (Comey) will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,” Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on the Comey hearing.
The hearing begins 10 am EST but all news networks and CSPAN will be live from at least 30 minutes before the hearing begins. The 10 am hearing is public and the next one at 1pm is behind closed doors. Big question – which senator will leak details of the closed door hearing? That’s the hottest news beat on Thursday evening.
Trump fired Comey on the evening of May 9, via an email and letter sent to the FBI. Comey was away in the US West Coast when he saw the news on telly and thought it was a joke.
Soon after, the Washington Post and New York Times scooped devastating stories that said Trump revealed top secret information with the Russians in the White House and that Trump asked Comey to drop the Russia probe – a charge could amount to obstruction of justice, if proven.
The Thursday session will start with a customary set of opening remarks as always followed by a question-and-answer session with members of the Senate panel.
Totally at ease in the spotlight, Comey has testified in Congress twice earlier this year and both times, he delivered Page One headlines provoking Trump to call him a “showboat”.
Comey has refuted Trump’s claims in public more than once. Most recently, he said on record that Trump’s claims of Obama wiretapping Trump Tower are false, he has also confirmed that the FBI was indeed investigating Russia’s links to the Trump campaign – in effect refuting Trump’s claims that Russia is fake news.