Ousted FBI director James Comey is set to testify in front of Congress Thursday in a public hearing on his interactions with President Donald Trump and his investigation into whether Russian officials interfered with the election.
But according to reports from ABC News, Comey probably won’t provide the groundbreaking testimony that has all the major news networks carrying his testimony live (and Trump already planning to live-Tweet his hearing).
According to ABC‘s source (a “close friend”), Comey will “stop short” of claiming that the President interfered or tried to call off the FBI’s investigation into former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, the administration’s departed national security adviser.
The New York Times reported that the President pressured Comey on Flynn’s case, allegedly saying, in a private meeting: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
The revelations immediately gave rise to questions as to whether Trump had illegally impeded the FBI’s investigation. Congressional Democrats indicated that they would use Comey’s testimony to collect evidence of such a crime to use in potential impeachment proceedings.
But Comey doesn’t seem intent on going down that road. He “will not accuse the President of obstructing justice,” ABC says, but he will dispute Trump’s claim that Comey told him “three times” that he was not under investigation. It’s a claim that was tenuous when it first emerged, since the FBI, as a policy, does not disclose the targets of ongoing FBI investigations.
That leaves few subjects of interest for Comey’s Thursday testimony. He could explain his need to keep meticulous records of his interactions with the President, but if he didn’t trust Trump, the “contemporaneous writings” could help clear his name or win a future argument. It could even provide leverage against the President, if the situation got dire.
He could talk about why he was uncomfortable with Trump in the first place, but there’s nothing illegal or untoward about making government officials uncomfortable.
“He is not going to Congress to make accusations about the President’s intent, instead he’s there to share his concerns,” ABC‘s source continues. His concerns, though, aren’t actionable for law enforcement or the loyal opposition.