James Comey, fired as FBI director by President Donald Trump, testifies Thursday before Congress.
Comey’s public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Pacific time. A private, closed-door session will follow.
Senators want to question Comey about reports Trump urged him to stop investigating Michael Flynn, his ousted national security adviser, in the FBI’s probe of Russian interference in last year’s election.
Democrats are seeking to determine whether Trump obstructed justice, while some Republicans can be expected to try to show the president did nothing wrong. Trump, who ultimately fired Comey, has denied urging him to give Flynn a pass and dismissed the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
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There will be at least one addition to the usual committee roster: Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a Trump critic who is allowed to attend the panel’s meetings based on his status as chairman of the Armed Service Committee.
NBC, ABC and CBS all plan to broadcast the public hearing live, as do CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other cable news channels.
In addition, several Sacramento-area venues plan viewing parties, including the Fox & Goose Pub at 1001 R St.
This is a big deal that places the Comey session on a short list of congressional hearings deemed worthy of live airings on broadcast television – a list that includes the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, Watergate hearings in 1973, Iran-contra hearings in 1987, Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991 and Clinton impeachment hearings in 1998.
The Washington Post contributed to this report.