NOTE: The Hanging Shad will be live tweeting during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee. 10 a.m. Follow along on Twitter @TheHangingShad
President Trump has announced a new FBI director; he plans on touting a new, gigantic infrastructure package; and the Middle East is on fire (more so than usual). Yet there is nothing—no new development, no new appointment, no new proposal—that will draw attention away from what is obviously appointment-viewing television. Fired FBI Director James Comey testifies in open session in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday. The world will be watching.
UPDATE: The Senate Intelligence Committee released the written opening statement for his Thursday appearance before the committee. In it, he claims President Trump demand loyalty in an excruciatingly detailed account.
On Wednesday, some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were openly hostile to two intelligence chiefs for—in the members’ views—was the refusal to answer questions without any legitimate reason.
There is certainly the chance the rest Comey’s testimony will be the political equivalent of Al Capone’s vault. It may simply confirm what we already know or suspect: that Trump asked, ordered, suggested, cajoled, begged or otherwise talked about Comey dropping the investigation of former National Security Director Michael Flynn and other Trumpers’ connections to Russia (and verbs count here in determining what the next step is). It’s been reported that Comey will make no legal conclusions on the president’s actions.
There is also the possibility the Comey show has an Alexander Butterfield-, John Dean-type moment that blows this entire thing sky high.
The wild card here is whether Republicans on the committee show any backbone at all or will turn hostile toward Comey. Tough questions to the guy who showed questionable judgement at best in handling the Hillary Clinton email investigation is certainly warranted, in fact, required. But GOP senators could turtle on this whole thing and defend the president. At someone point, don’t they have to pursue the truth?
All of this comes with the backdrop of reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who has his own perjury-like problems—is on the outs with Trump. Sessions was an early and strong supporter of the president. If he is in fact didn’t want anything to do with Trump and in fact offered to resign, it only adds to the Comey suspense.
In trying to gage just what we have here, perhaps we should look to other veteran intelligence officials. Here’s former National Security Agency chief General James Clapper.
So, I for one, will be glued to see what can potentially be a huge step toward a constitutional crisis in our Republic.