Former FBI Director James Comey goes before Congress today. It is expected that he will be asked to provide specific details on whether or not President Trump pressured him to close the ongoing investigation into Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn. But what will Comey really say in the most watched Congressional hearings since the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings?
After Comey was fired, it was reported that he had penned at least one memo indicating that Trump had requested he shut down the investigation into Flynn, and prominent senators are looking to clarify some things. Trump’s supposed request that Comey give him a “pledge of loyalty” will also likely be on the table.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said, “I want to know what kind of pressure – appropriate, inappropriate – how many conversations he had with the president about this topic?”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) added, “The tone, the exact words that were spoken and the context are so important and that’s what we lack right now and we can only get that by talking to those directly involved.”
My guess is that Mr. Comey will intimate more than he actually says. He’s in a bit of a dilemma. If Comey says Trump put no pressure on him at all, he contradicts his reported memo and comments to other FBI personnel. But if he says Trump instructed him to pass on the Flynn investigation, he puts himself at legal risk, as this would have been a clear violation by the president – and as FBI Director, Comey would have had a responsibility to report it at the time, not several months later after he was fired.
Anything Comey says against the president after being fired, that he could have said before being fired, will sound like vindictive comments.
So here’s what you can expect.
1. Comey will say something, but not as much as either political side would like.
2. Comey will say Trump “suggested” he go easy on Flynn, stopping short of saying the president actually asked him to take action.
3. By tonight, Democrats will rush to the mics and scream: “We told you so! Comey has just confirmed everything we’ve been saying for months.”
4. By tonight, Republicans will rush to the mics and scream: “We told you so! Comey has just confirmed everything we’ve been saying for months.”