When former FBI Director James Comey declined the Senate’s request last week to testify in the wake of his firing, some feared that he was turning tail and running away. But Palmer Report made clear that Comey was holding out because he wanted to testify in public (link). And now the Senate has announced that it’s agreeing to let him testify before the television cameras.
The reveal came today when Senate Intelligence Committee principals Richard Burr and Mark Warner sent James Comey a revised request that he testify in both open and closed hearings, as shared by Politico (link). This means that both sides will get what they want out of it. The committee wants Comey to testify in private so that classified information and sensitive details of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation can be freely discussed, while Comey wants to testify in public so he can get his story out directly to the American people.
This represents one of the most significant developments to date in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, which has spiraled out of control over the past week. Trump fired Comey a week ago, and then subsequently admitted in a television interview with Lester Holt that he had done it specifically to try to make the Russia investigation go away. Then on Monday it was revealed that Trump gave highly classified information to the Russians the day after he fired Comey. Then yesterday it was revealed that Trump had asked Comey to scuttle the investigation into Russia suspect Michael Flynn, which represents criminal obstruction of justice on Trump’s part.
James Comey still has to formally accept the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request to testify. And as we pointed out last week, there’s a good chance he’ll force the committee to subpoena him so that he’ll have legal cover for his testimony, as he can point out that he was legally forced to reveal whatever he ends up revealing (link). But now that Comey’s demand to testify in public is being met, it’s time to get your popcorn ready. Update, May 19th: as expected, Comey has formally agreed to publicly testify.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report