LIVE STREAM: James Comey hearing before Senate on Trump-Russia

Ex-FBI Director James Comey to testify before Senate Intel

WASHINGTON – James Comey, former FBI Director who was fired last month by President Donald Trump, will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning. 

You can watch the James Comey Senate hearing at 10:00 a.m. live on ClickOnDetroit.com.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said it's "obviously" inappropriate for President Donald Trump to have asked ousted FBI Director James Comey to pledge his loyalty.

When asked by MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday whether the request was appropriate, the Wisconsin Republican answered: "I mean, obviously I don't think that is. I think Director Comey will probably get a lot of questions about that tomorrow, will be my guess."

Ryan was responding to claims made by Comey in his opening statement, which was released one day ahead of his appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Former FBI Director James Comey says he informed Donald Trump in early January that he was not personally under investigation in the bureau's Russia counter-intelligence investigation.

Trump was then president-elect. Comey says that the decision to give Trump that assurance came after consultation with top bureau officials.

Comey says he documented their meeting afterward by typing up notes on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower "the moment I walked out of the meeting."

That revelation and others are contained in written testimony Comey submitted Wednesday ahead of his appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

They confirm some of what has already been reported publicly in the media. But the information has not previously come directly and publicly from Comey.

Axed FBI Director James Comey will break his silence on Thursday in sworn testimony before the Senate intelligence committee to address his firing and allegations that Trump asked him to kill the federal investigation into his former national security adviser, putting the Russia controversy that has hampered the GOP agenda front and center once again.

White House officials and the President's allies on the outside have begun crafting a plan to counter the Thursday testimony, but those efforts so far appear jumbled.

As Trump embarked on the second-half of his first foreign trip, senior White House officials began crafting plans to create a war room-like structure to get a grip on the incessant salvo of Russia-related blockbusters.

But just two days before Comey's testimony, that war room has yet to materialize and multiple sources said its creation is effectively on hold until Trump fleshes out his legal team to represent him on the matter with a DC counsel to work with New York-based attorney Marc Kasowitz.

"There's no surrogate operation, no big picture narrative," one source said. "It's worse than it even looks."

But Trump is continuing to stew over the Russia allegations and the lack of a robust operation to defend him from the constant barrage, recently cutting into a largely positive phone conversation to begin griping about the latest allegations that prompted the FBI to examine Kushner's contacts with Russian officials.

The drip, drip, drip of allegations surrounding Trump campaign associates' contacts with Russian officials have gotten in the way of White House officials' efforts to implement Trump's agenda, dogging efforts on Capitol Hill and sending the president's top aides into crisis response mode.

"There's no doubt that keeping members focused on investigations detracts from our legislative agenda and detracts from what we're trying to deliver to the American people," White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters on Monday.

But beyond devising a thorough and effective messaging strategy to deflect the steady stream of bombshell reports surrounding the federal investigation that have dogged the White House in recent months, the White House will still have to contend with a President who has frequently stepped on official messaging efforts in 140 characters or less.

Days before Comey's testimony, nobody would rule out that the President could take to Twitter on Thursday to respond directly to Comey's testimony -- with perhaps less savvy than RNC-crafted talking points.

On Monday, the President kicked off what was designed to be infrastructure week with a series of newsworthy tweets about his travel ban -- just the latest instance of Trump stepping on his communications shop. And Trump advisers and Republicans across Washington are already bracing for a Twitter salvo from the President on Thursday.

"If there's ever a day for him to get his hands tied behind his back, that's the day," a Republican close to the White House said. "But that's not gonna happen."

 

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About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.