By Miriam Raftery
June 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County ) – Major TV networks including CBS, NBC and ABC will be interrupting regular programming tomorrow morning to broadcast live testimony by fired FBI director James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee slated to start at 7 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.
A copy of Comey's pre-prepared statement has been released and can be read here. Comey confirms "inappropriate" actions by President Donald Trump including demanding loyalty and pressuring him to drop the investigation into former National Security Director Michael Flynn. Comey's statement directly contradicts Trump's denial that he asked Comey to drop the investigation. After Comey refused, and also refused to swear a loyalty oath to Trump, Trump fired him.
Comey’s testimony under questioning by Senators tomorrow could provide evidence for special prosecutor James Mueller, who is heading up an investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
The stakes have ratcheted up after the Intercept published excerpts of a leaked top-secret National Security Administration report detailing that Russian military intelligence sent phishing messages to at least 100 U.S. election officials days before the 2016 presidential election and earlier executed a cyber attack on at least one voting software supplier.
The Trump administration responded to the Intercept story by filing charges against the NSA contractor, Reality Winner, who leaked the document to the media outlet.
The Washington Post reports,“The drama is undeniable. Senators surely will ask Comey about private conversations he had with President Trump — specifically one in which the president reportedly said, `I hope you can let this go,’ referring to an FBI investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn…Was Trump merely stating his desired outcome or pressuring the director to end the probe? To put it more bluntly: Does Comey believe the president obstructed justice?”
Flynn was removed as National Security Director after revelations that he lied in his Senate confirmation hearings about his communications with a Russian government official. Flynn misled the Vice President about that meeting, reportedly, and also failed to register as a lobbyist for Turkey when he legally should have done so.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Comey asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make sure Comey was not left alone with President Trump again after Trump pressured him to end the probe, to avoid placing the FBI director in a situation where undue influence might be exerted.
Comey said Trump also repeatedly asked him to publicly state that Trump himself was not under investigation. Comey has indicated he did not go public with this in case the invsetigation took an unexpected turn, potentially a turn that might ensnare Trump and others.
Trump reportedly plans to live-tweet his responses to the Comey testimony, though Senate Republicans including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee have encouraged him to turn off the TV and put away his phone, CNN reports.
Yahoo News reported yesterday that four top law firms have refused White House requests to represent President Trump, in part due to concerns that Trump would not listen to their legal advice.