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What You Need to Know Before Comey's Historic Testimony Thursday

by Countable | 6.7.17

On Thursday ousted FBI Director James Comey will offer highly anticipated public testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Comey is expected to be questioned at length about Russia, whether the president asked him to stop the investigation concerning his campaign’s ties to the foreign power, and the details surrounding Comey’s firing.

Countable will be streaming the testimony live -- Here's what you need to know to follow along, a recap of the major highlights of the Comey story.

September 2013

James Comey was appointed Director of the FBI by then-President Barack Obama. He was confirmed by the senate by a vote of 93-1. Senator Rand Paul (KY) was the lone dissenter.

July 2016

Comey drew ire from Republicans when he announced he would not recommend charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Comey headed a year long investigation into Clinton’s use of an unsecured, private email server to do official business. Comey stated that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case" against her for mishandling classified information. He did, however, publicly admonish Clinton and her staff for being “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information”.

Comey’s announcement went against traditional protocol, since the FBI only has investigative power -- it cannot bring charges against anyone. That is the job of the Department of Justice. In March of 2017 the whys of Comey’s decision came to light. Don’t worry. We’ll get there.

October 2016

Comey received praise or ire, and little in between, for informing congressional leaders and FBI employees eleven days prior to the U.S. presidential election that investigators were reviewing newly found emails related to the previously closed Clinton email probe. The move was widely referred to as his "October Surprise".

The news exploded, and was not diminished by Comey’s subsequent announcement two days prior to the election that there was nothing new or incriminating in the emails reviewed.

Late January 2017

A week after the inauguration President Trump hosted Director Comey for a private dinner in the White House. He is alleged to have asked Director Comey to pledge loyalty to him, which Comey refused to do, promising "honesty" instead.

February 2017

In a memo that Director Comey is reported to have created following a meeting in February with the president he documented that President Trump asked him to "let go" the investigation into Michael Flynn. The next day the New York Times reports that Comey demanded of Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he never be left alone with the President again.

March 5, 2017

Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly refute President Trump’s assertion on Twitter that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, had ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower. At that time some questioned whether or not Comey did not simply issue a statement himself based off of F.B.I records.

March 20, 2017

Comey testified publicly with Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, in front of the House Intelligence Committee. In his testimony Comey asserted again that there was no basis for the president’s wiretapping claims on Twitter. He also testified that the F.B.I. was in the midst of investigating Russian election interference and any potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials:

"I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

April 12, 2017

President Trump responds to an interview question regarding whether or not he should have asked Director Comey to step down from his position after the inauguration:

"No, it’s not too late, but, you know, I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. You know, it’s going to be interesting."

May 3, 2017

Director Comey testified publicly in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on F.B.I. Oversight, an annual hearing. Comey was questioned about whether he had ever been an anonymous source to the news media or whether he ordered anyone else to be, to which he responded no. He was also grilled about his decision to discuss an ongoing investigation (the Clinton email redux) so close to a presidential election.

Most notable, however, was that he misspoke when he discussed "hundreds and thousands" of emails, some of them containing “classified information”, forwarded from former Clinton aide Huma Abedin to her husband, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner. He testified:

"[Anthony Weiner’s] then spouse, Huma Abedin, appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding e-mails to him, for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the Secretary of State...my understanding is that his role would be to print them out as a matter of convenience.”

The problem is that this information was misleading. The Bureau later clarified to the Committee that the vast majority of emails found on Weiner’s laptop were back-ups from Abedin’s phone, and only "a small number" had been forwarded directly to Weiner to print, two of which were classified.

May 9, 2017

Director Comey is fired, though he does not get the news directly. He hears it in the midst of a speech to agents in Los Angeles. The reasons, according to the president and the White House, for Comey’s abrupt firing were numerous and contradictory.

May 12, 2017

President Trump tweets what many perceive as a threat to now-former Director Comey, while also raising questions about whether there are tapes in the possession of the White House that would properly explain the events leading up to Comey’s firing.

May 16, 2017

The New York Times reports that Mr. Comey documented all of his meetings with President Trump in a series of memos, including notes on the meeting when the president is alleged to have asked him to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn. The media erupts, as does Capitol Hill. Several congress members, notable among them Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who had recused himself from heading the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, request copies of any and all memos for review.

May 26, 2017

CNN reports then-Director Comey made his announcement that there would be no charges filed against Hillary Clinton in the investigation of her email server without informing then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch because of a Russian document he knew was fake:

"The Russian intelligence at issue purported to show that then-Attorney General Lynch had been compromised in the Clinton investigation. The intelligence described emails between then-Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a political operative suggesting that Lynch would make the FBI investigation of Clinton go away.”

That the document had factored into Comey’s decision was already known. That he had acted on it knowing it was fake out of concern if it "dropped" before he made the announcement not to pursue charges there would be questions of impropriety in the investigation was the revelation. The revelation raised questions about Comey’s personal motivations to protect the Bureau and his legacy, as well as continued to illuminate the ways in which Russia affected the outcome of the 2016 election.

May 31, 2017

Mr. Comey is "cleared" to publicly testify at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing June 8 after meeting with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the independent investigation into Russian election meddling and ties between the Trump campaign and administration with Putin’s government.

And that pretty much brings us to today! Countable will be livestreaming the Comey hearing tomorrow on Facebook and Youtube. Join us! And if you have questions you want committee members to ask tomorrow tell us what they are here.

What do you think of the Comey hearing and what do you think will come of it? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(41)
  • Karin
    06/07/2017
    ···

    Trumps supporters are saying they don't care if his campaign collided with Russia. I am appalled that our liberties mean so little to them and that they would risk everything for this president. Please stay strong for us in Washington. We have not been this vulnerable since the Civil War!

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  • JaredThePoet
    06/07/2017
    ···

    To my representatives, I ask that you hear Mr. Comey out and take his words as evidence in the Senate investigation. Take your time to ask questions that dive into whether or not Trump did anything immoral or unethical. As always, I thank you Mr. Burr for your bipartisan effort and have admired your approach to the hearings, to find the whole truth, whether or not it makes the Republican president look bad or not. For that, you should be commended.

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  • Isabel
    06/07/2017
    ···

    I watched today's hearings. For me they were not a waste of time. The idea that Rosenstein, the Asdistant FBI director, Pompeo & the WH Intel director were not told by the WH counsel that they had e Executive privilege but they still didn't say that No Trump did not ask them. It danced around the questioning & wanted a closed hearing led me to believe that Trump did mention it. If you cannot make them answer questions under oath then what good is the process. The American ppl should heAr their answer.

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  • Sandra
    06/07/2017
    ···

    Mr. Comey's letter reveals obstruction of justice. Act on it asap!

    Like (7)
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  • Debbie
    06/07/2017
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    How dare you allow a super PAC run commercials against Comey. This should tell any intelligence American everything they need to know about what is going on in our country.

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  • DrCindyBean
    06/07/2017
    ···

    TRump obstructed justice. Impeach him. Pence Sessions and Kushner are going to be found involved in knowingly covering up Flynn crimes- get to the bottom of all this corruption. Impeach.

    Like (5)
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  • Lorane
    06/07/2017
    ···

    The Senate Intelligence hearing with Coats, Rogers, Rosenstein, & McCabe showed the four refusing to answer without having any legal basis. If that was a civilian, that person would be charged and locked up. The Intel leaders must follow the law. They cannot go rogue and just stonewall. We need Congress to take action. I have no faith in the Intelligence committee or the White House.As a voter and citizen those 4 have to answer to us.

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  • Dave
    06/07/2017
    ···

    I find it interesting that the right conservatives republicans are running ads about Comey, trying to discredit him and saying how honest Trump is. They believe in Trump, who can even get his facts right! Covfefe?

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  • Karen
    06/07/2017
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    This is clearly obstruction of justice! Time to impeach. Also concerned about new information about Russian attempts to access voting machines. Perhaps we should do as Colbert suggested and do a replay of the 2016 election!

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  • Frank
    06/07/2017
    ···

    If anything like today's intel chiefs testimony, then a complete waste of time & taxpayers money, need new law that allows congress to force information, citizens have right to know, confidential or now; serious business and appears we will never know, impeach all

    Like (3)
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  • Aimee
    06/08/2017
    ···

    Is anyone in the GOP prepared to step up and start prosecution proceedings if the president is shown to be obstructing justice? Need to get to the bottom of possible connections between Russia and the White House. Very disappointed that no one in the GOP seems to care about ethics, security clearance and adherence to us constitution and laws. Do your jobs to protect American rights and people.

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  • Claude
    06/08/2017
    ···

    Please keep the good of the Nation in mind as you question or assist in questioning Comey. We the people want to hear probing designed to get at the truth. No political point scoring needed.

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  • Bonnie
    06/08/2017
    ···

    We, the American people, need to know the truth about the Trump administration and their ties to Russia. Be strong and be an American before you are a politician. We need answers.

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  • FreeToBeMe
    06/08/2017
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    It is amazing to me to read all of the "Blind Hate" on this Countable Liberal site. Obama used his "Executive Privilege" to veil obstructions. Obama has told many "untruths" and his administration has done some VERY unscrupulous things. Hillary smashed, crashed, bleach bitted 13 phones/laptops/computers/servers and broke the law again and again. Totally blind hate. This is extremely disturbing how people believe and make decisions based on emotions perceived as facts.

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  • FreeToBeMe
    06/08/2017
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    You forgot to include Obama in the timeline when he stated publicly for Trump to stop whining that no one is messing with the election. Also at that same time he said that Obama actually knew of the NSA Leaker. AND Trump is not/has not been under investigation. It's all a farse and diversion of the corruption in the OA. CNN, MSNBC terrible sources for facts...great source of tabloid news.

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  • Care4all
    06/08/2017
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    I am so looking forward to Comey's testimony. If he dances around questions as witnesses did today, I fear that it will deteriorate the soul of American Justice. Just tell the truth for the sake of our country and don't parlay around with the notion that your life will be easier. It's our Nation's life on the line.

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  • Cynthia
    06/07/2017
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    I hope Comey is asked if he believed he was fired because he didn't respond with "loyalty" by continuing, and not ending the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia.

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  • Valerie
    06/07/2017
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    The liberals have set themselves up for another utter fail and disappointment. The idiots will never learn. Gonna be entertaining tomorrow to witness yet another meltdown of the snowflakes.

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  • Sharon
    06/08/2017
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    Nothing, Trump is complicit. You'd have to be a complete idiot not to get that.

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  • Bruce
    06/08/2017
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    Hillary Clinton had way more ties to Russia the Trump and his team. Honestly why do the Democrats keep denying this ?

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