Suspense Builds as Senate Awaits Comey Testimony

(CN) – Suspense is building as the Senate Intelligence Committee awaits Thursday’s appearance by former FBI Director James Comey, who will be making his first public comments since being fired by President Donald Trump in May.

Comey is expected to testify about his dealings with Trump and the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Comey is scheduled to appear before the committee at 10 a.m. Thursday. But the hearings actually kick off today with many of the nation’s top national security officials testifying on the investigation of Russian election meddling and contacts between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign.

Set to address the committee on Wednesday are National Intelligence Director Dan Coats; Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency; Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Among the subjects lawmakers are likely to press them on is the  leak of a classified report on Russian hacking to the Intercept, a national security news website.

Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against a government contractor in Georgia, charging her with sharing classified information with a news organization.

What Comey will actually say on Thursday is still largely anybody’s guess. Several news organizations, citing anonymous sources “familiar” with Comey’s thinking said he will tell the committee he has not concluded that Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he asked the then-FBI Director to close an investigation of former NSA Director Michael Flynn.

Instead, it’s said that Comey will more likely testify to the president’s lack of understanding of the more nuanced conversations the men had and that the president might have misunderstood or incorrectly believed that he was not under investigation.

Comey is also expected to address allegations that Trump asked for his fealty shortly after taking office. A leaked memo, which has not yet been made available to the public, allegedly contains Comey’s record of Trump’s request.

It was unclear as of Wednesday morning what, if any, records or documents Comey will turn over to the committee.

As for how the White House will be reacting to Comey’s testimony, it has been reported the president will live Tweet during the hearing before delivering a speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C.

Later on Thursday, he is scheduled to meet with governors and mayors to discuss ongoing infrastructure projects.

Last week, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the president and members of staff would be watching the hearing.

On Tuesday, when reporters questioned Trump about the upcoming hearing, the president was short on words.

“I wish him luck,” he said.

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