Comey Will Testify About Trump's Obstruction

WOLF BLITZER: We begin with breaking news. We now have new details about efforts to get the fired FBI Director James Comey to testify at a U.S. Senate hearing. The plans to testify were up in the air after it was announced that the investigation into Russian meddling was being turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Our Washington investigative editor Eric Lichtblau is joining us right now with new information. You've been doing a lot of reporting on this. First of all, Eric, tell our viewers what you're learning.

ERIC LICHTBLAU: Well, what we're told by our sources is that in fact Comey will testify; he will testify publicly, maybe as soon as next week, before the Senate Intelligence Committee; and that he is ready and eager to discuss these tense confrontations, that we've heard about over the last few weeks, with the president over the Russia investigation.

BLITZER: So you've got two bombshells: One, he's agreed to testify in public before the Senate Intelligence Committee, maybe as early as next Wednesday evening—Wednesday morning, is that right?

LICHTBLAU: That's in the mix, yes.

BLITZER: That's one, that he will testify in public, maybe as early as Wednesday morning, before the Senate Intelligence Committee; and two, that he is ready and even eager to speak about his conversations with [Donald] Trump about the entire investigation.

LICHTBLAU: Correct. He and Bob Mueller, the Special Counsel, have been discussing the parameters. They don't want to mess up the criminal investigation that Mueller is now embarked on, with the public testimony. It's unlikely that Comey will be willing to discuss the Russian investigation itself. He'll stay away from that. But what we're hearing is that he is willing and Mueller is willing as well to have him testify about these run-ins where the president allegedly told him to let go of the investigation, for instance, into Michael Flynn; where he wanted his loyalty to keep him on as FBI Director; that he is ready and prepared to talk about those tense confrontations with the president.
So, this is indeed big news. But I want to caution against getting too excited about this, for two reasons.

1. Republicans are still the majority in the Senate, and thus control what will happen, if anything, as a result of Comey's testimony. They haven't yet begun to demonstrate any inclination to hold Trump accountable for anything, or give two shits about the integrity of the nation's democracy, and I don't expect that Comey's testimony will change that. Unfortunately.

2. Comey will almost certainly be typically underwhelming. I expect he'll be so circumspect and cautious in his testimony that any actual obstruction of justice won't even sound definitive. It will probably be far less explosive than anyone is expecting. Which could potentially defeat the resistance and empower the right.

Don't me wrong: Public testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, especially if Democratic members ask the right questions, is a good thing and could be important. But it also might end up being nothing more than another news cycle with no meaningful consequence in the long run. So set your expectations accordingly.

Mueller's investigation is more likely to be the game-changer than the Senate investigation. Fingers crossed that at least one of them will be.

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