So former FBI director James Comey submitted his opening statement for tomorrow’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in writing, and the committee released it late this morning. Twitter’s been burning down for a couple of hours now and all the hot takes are out, so here’s a few thoughts of my own.
First up, here’s the written testimony as a .pdf. It’s seven pages long and a pretty good read.
Notable in Comey’s statement is his general refusal to draw conclusions or offer opinions on what happened. He states the facts, but does so in such a way as to leave the implications up to the reader. And the implications are fairly clear.
What this opening statement shows is an effort on Trump’s part to ensnare Comey in his web of influence. Trump tends to hire people he feels he can control. If he’s stuck with a hire he can’t control, he gets rid of them or attempts to drag them down in the muck with him. That’s what he was doing here with Comey, and that’s what he’s done to several of his more “sensible” or “grown up” hires, like H. R. McMaster.
What we’re also seeing here is an attempt by Trump to lean on Comey and get him to drop the Flynn and/or Russia investigations without actually having to ask him to drop those investigations.
I have no idea what to expect out of tomorrow’s testimony, or what might qualify as a “bombshell” these days. So many things have already happened that should have been the end of Trump, and yet resulted in nothing, that I have no idea what it’ll take to do him actual damage. I’m pretty sure we’re going to hear some interesting stuff, though. It’s definitely going to be worth your time to tune in.
- @alexandraerin’s analysis on Twitter (I like this gal. She’s smart.)
- Lawfare: Initial Comments on James Comey’s Written Testimony
- Vox: 3 senior FBI officials can vouch for Comey’s story about Trump
- The Atlantic: James Comey Finally Tells His Side of the Story
- The Atlantic: James Comey’s Opening Statement on Trump, Annotated
- Politico: Highlights from Comey’s statement on Trump and Russia
- TPM EdBlog: My Annotated Notes on the Comey Statement