Donald Trump To Dine With Two Senators Who Will Question James Comey

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 7, 2017

Then, days later, the Times also reported that Comey alleged in a memo that Trump asked him to shut down the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn because "he is a good guy".

Thursday's hearing is Comey's first appearance in front of Congress since Trump abruptly fired the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief last month. Surely Trump knows more about his discussions with Comey than anyone but Comey himself, so getting out in front of the testimony by having Rubio and Cotton ask questions that could perhaps make Comey look bad, would seemingly be in his best interest.

If Comey comes out and says, "Yes, in a one-on-one meeting, Donald Trump asked me to drop the Russian Federation investigation", the ball is very much in Trump's court to respond.

Any confirmation that Trump tried to press Comey would open the president to damaging allegations that he attempted to obstruct an ongoing FBI investigation. And, as has been demonstrated over the last 72 hours with Trump's London attack tweets and his tweetstorm on the so-called "travel ban", it's rarely politically beneficial to him or his White House when he gets alone with his phone.

In Thursday's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey is expected to describe those conversations in detail, although he will be careful not to discuss classified information, which is likely to prevent him from providing new details about the Russian Federation probe, associates said.

"There will no doubt be a tension between people trying to have him draw conclusions and being a fact witness", says this source familiar with Comey's thinking, indicating that it is up to the special counsel to draw legal conclusions after conducting a complete legal inquiry "into the White House side of things and not just a few interactions" with Comey. Sources say the parameters set by the two men - who are friends and former colleagues at the Justice Department - were aimed at avoiding the possibility that Comey's testimony could taint any criminal case that Mueller might ultimately bring.

White House officials appear eager to keep the president away from television and Twitter Thursday, though those efforts rarely succeed.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference announced Tuesday that the president had agreed to address the annual gathering Thursday. He will also be questioned about the agency's underlying investigation into whether Trump's campaign had anything to do with Russian meddling in the election the NY billionaire into office.

"If there isn't a strategy, a coherent, effective one, this is really going to put us all behind the eight ball. And so far, I don't see a lot of fight", said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign aide. That led to House members asking Comey to fact-check the president's tweets as he posted them. However, he added, he had not heard from the White House about the Comey hearing as of midday Tuesday.

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