The much-anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing featuring James Comey will be the focus of much of the Media’s coverage today. With yesterday’s release of Comey’s opening statement, we have a pretty good idea of what Comey will and will not talk about.
However, that won’t stop politicians from both sides from trying to score a few political points here and there.
So, here’s what you can expect from this hearing today.
1. Republicans Want To Put Russia To Bed
The topic of Donald Trump and Russia continues to be a problem, and it’s not just the Democrats and the Media who keep it alive in the news cycle. Trump continues to put a spotlight on it by frequently mentioning it in speeches and on Twitter. Comey is expected to say he did in fact tell the president he was not under investigation, and many Republicans want that to be the focus of the Comey testimony…
2. Democrats Want To Keep The Russia Conspiracy Alive
…but the Democrats will have none of it, and for good reason. There is an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, and if any of Trump’s people had undisclosed communications/interactions with Russian agents leading up to the election. The Democrats obviously want there to be a there there, to borrow a phrase from their last president. The problem is that, so far, where Trump is concerned there is nothing damning.
3. Democrats Will Beclown Themselves In Overreaching
The Democrats have one strategy for 2018 and 2020: De-legitimize Donald Trump every step of the way. And, while they have a great ally in Donald Trump’s public statements and actions, the simple fact is that they have no smoking gun to permanently cripple the Trump Administration. As a result, their cries come across as little more than bitter whining that things aren’t going their way. It will not look good or sound good.
4. Donald Trump Will Declare Victory
Trump is going to harp on the “not under investigation” thing. Forever, probably. And I expect several tweets on it. All he wants out of this hearing are two things – yes, Comey did say he wasn’t under investigation, and yes, he was in the right in firing Comey. Is there anything he’ll be unhappy about? Maybe, but those two things alone are going to be enough for him to be happy.
5. If Comey Doesn’t Say It In His Opening Statement, He Won’t Say It At All
If the last several months have proven anything, it’s that James Comey is very much a political creature. His time in Washington and his time with the FBI have given him the perfect training in knowing what to say, what not to say, and what not to not say. He’s going to stick to what he says and try his hardest not to give anything else away. As a result, he’s going to be berated (rightly or wrongly) by both sides here.
6. …Which Will Get Him Beat Up By Both Sides
The Democrats are still bitter over the election and Comey’s so-called sabotage of Hillary Clinton. Republicans are still bitter over the fact that he didn’t recommend charges. Both sides have lost all faith in him, and they have a grudge. To be honest, it does take a certain fortitude to go into this knowing both sides are going to hammer you. As he says some things and refuses to say other things, he’s going to get verbally attacked by the committee and by talking heads.
In The End…
Basically, when this hearing is over, there isn’t going to be a whole lot offered that is new, per se. We will have public acknowledgement of things we have read about and speculated on, but for the most part, the information that comes out is all going to be stuff we already knew.
Not that anybody is really going to care about it. Both sides are going to treat this as a Big Thing and claim they were right all along.