On Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. This will be the first time he will speak publicly since The New York Times broke the story about his “memo” alleging that President Trump ostensibly asked him to end the investigation into Michael Flynn.
There is no doubt that this hearing will be a media spectacle on Capitol Hill. ABC, NBC, and CBS have already announced that they will be covering it live on their networks. And CNN has had a running countdown graphic of its screen for several days now.
The people most excited about this hearing? The Trump haters.
From Democrats to #NeverTrump conservatives, the ongoing investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia have become their obsession. Some have already called for President Trump’s impeachment.
But despite all the smoke that is out there, there is still no fire. As bad as many of these anonymously-sourced bombshell reports look for the Trump administration, none of them have actually proven criminal wrongdoing (yet). Even several top Democrats like Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Mark Warner have admitted that they haven’t seen any evidence that proves collusion between Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin.
In regards to the upcoming hearing, the big question isn’t whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia; it’s whether or not President Trump obstructed justice.
To all the Trump haters out there, don’t get your hopes up.
If this “memo” actually exists — the physical copy has yet to surface — chances are the most damning information has already been made public, aka the fact that President Trump at minimum had asked Comey to end the investigation into Flynn. If Comey felt intimidated, pressured, or threatened in any way by Trump, he would have been legally obligated to report the incident to the DOJ or immediately resign. In other words, if he declares on Thursday that President Trump obstructed justice, he’d be incriminating himself.
ABC News’s Jonathan Karl reported on Tuesday afternoon that Comey will “stop short” of saying Trump obstructed justice. On top of that, he had given sworn testimony last month that he was never told to conclude any sort of investigation. So unless he committed perjury, it is reasonable to conclude that the president hasn’t obstructed justice.
Due to the ongoing investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Comey will already be limited to what he can or cannot say. Between that and the likelihood that President Trump didn’t actually obstruct justice, the Thursday hearing will probably disappoint the Trump haters. And it wouldn’t be the first time.
Remember all the hype there was ahead of former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates‘s testimony? Yates, who became a hero of the left after she was fired by President Trump for not enforcing his travel ban, pretty much only reiterated information we already knew and couldn’t answer questions that involved classified information. The same will likely happen with Comey.
The media will sure do its best to pull sensational headlines from this hearing (including this very website!) There’s no question that there may very well be intense, heated exchanges between Comey and some of these senators and perhaps between the senators themselves. Nonetheless, this hearing won’t be a game changer.
To all the Trump haters, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.