After Two Days of Testimony, Top FBI Official Could Possibly Corroborate James Comey's Story

I’ve been watching delirious Trump devotees speculating on social media that the lack of leaks from FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s closed door testimony this week was a sure sign that the sun was about to break over the glorious dawning of President Trump’s exoneration.

Something like that.

CNN is reporting something a little different.

The questioning of McCabe ranged from interactions with the former FBI Director James Comey, the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, to the Clinton email investigation.

In two sessions, covering 14 hours of testimony in front of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Judiciary committees, McCabe sat behind closed doors, and three sources are confirming details, including the questions concerning Comey.

In private testimony before the House Intelligence Committee this week, McCabe told lawmakers that Comey informed him of conversations he had with President Donald Trump soon after they happened, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.

The testimony suggests McCabe could corroborate Comey’s account, including Trump’s ask that Comey show him loyalty, which the President has strongly disputed. Comey previously testified that he briefed some of his senior colleagues at the FBI about this conversation with Trump.

If this particular line of questioning is considered by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, having McCabe basically back up Comey’s testimony about his contacts with Trump, it could add weight to the charge of obstruction – Trump fired Comey because he wouldn’t drop the Russia investigation.

And don’t think Trump’s own words, spoken to NBC’s Lester Holt, won’t come back to bite him.

Earlier this year, Comey testified that he briefed senior FBI officials about at least two conversations with Trump: The January dinner where Trump asked for loyalty, and the February meeting where Trump asked Comey to go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was under FBI investigation. In his bombshell testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June, Comey did not identify McCabe by name, only saying that he briefed “the FBI leadership team” about his interactions with Trump.

Predictably, Republicans coming out of the testimony said it didn’t change their minds.

Of the other subjects taken up in testimony, a lot of focus was put on the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Thursday’s hearing is the first connected to the joint investigation into Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case that was launched earlier this year by the Oversight and Judiciary committees.

Both sides say they expect this is the first in a series of hearings involving FBI witnesses, and the two committee have asked for at least two other senior FBI officials to appear.

And, predictably, Democrats see the focus on Clinton’s emails as a distraction.

It’s almost like both sides are trying to play defense for their player, rather than get legitimate answers.