Former FBI Director Comey has agreed to testify in open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee sometime after Memorial Day. The announcement was made in a joint statement by chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Mark Warner.
“The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,” Burr said.
Sen. Warner added, “I hope former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President.” Warner said he also expects Comey to, “shed light on issues critical to this Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
This just became the biggest political show in America. If this story from yesterday is true then Comey doesn’t just have one memo he has multiple memos documenting every exchange he had with the President and the White House. Presumably, the Senate intel committee will be asking to see those prior to his testimony. And it’s a good bet that once Democrats get their hands on them we’ll be seeing a lot more leaks to lay the groundwork for Comey’s testimony.
At this point, it’s not hard to imagine Comey is eager for a chance to unload on Trump. The President fired him, then warned him not to leak (on Twitter) and today there are reports Trump told Russian officials the day after the firing that Comey was “crazy, a real nut job.” If Comey really has the goods on Trump, this is his chance to lay it out on all the news networks simultaneously.
But there are three reasons I can think of offhand why Comey might not be joining The Resistance, so to speak. First, there’s now a special counsel investigating the Russia matter and Comey will be part of that investigation. That could significantly limit what he is able/willing to say in an open session.
Second, Comey allegedly showed a strong resistance to being politically co-opted by President Trump. As angry as he might be with Trump personally right now, he may not like the idea of being co-opted by the Democrats for their purposes any better. After his letter to Congress last October and Hillary’s subsequent loss, it’s safe to assume Comey caught wind of the vitriol and sheer hatred directed his way from outraged Democrats. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that he’d been getting a lot of death threats. If so, I doubt he’s forgotten all of that in the past two weeks. He knows the Democrats aren’t his friends.
Finally, Comey has to be thinking about where this is going. Imagine being the person blamed for Hillary’s loss and for Trump’s impeachment. If Comey’s testimony becomes exhibit A in the case for impeaching President Trump, Comey would be blamed all over again. It was one thing when he was in office and this was his professional responsibility, but does he really want to stick his neck out now or does he decide it’s time to blend in with the drapes?