You have your popcorn. You’ve loaded up on Sour Patch Kids. Maybe you even have a frosty soda ready so you won’t have to step away from your big screen plasma and miss a moment of James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intel Committee. After all, the fired FBI director is going to be hotter than “Hamilton” for at least a few hours. But it occurs to you: “Wait! I don’t know what to look for!”
Fear not. Here are the three key questions of the day.
1) Did President Trump pressure Comey to drop the Russia investigation? The White House says of course not. But according to Comey’s prepared opening statement, at one meeting, President Trump spoke about the part of the investigation aimed at now dismissed national security adviser Michael Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” the president allegedly said while talking about his need for “loyalty.” Democrats will want a lot of details about this and subsequent events so they can ask whether Comey felt it was obstruction of justice. Because if he says yes, that’s a paving stone toward their distant dreams of impeachment.
2) But if it was obstruction, why didn’t Comey speak up? This is likely the Republican line of attack. Watch for them to flag the fact that even though Comey took notes, he did not call out the president’s actions at the time. Rather, most of this emerged after Comey was fired and the president had accused him of doing a poor job. For some GOPers, the goal is clear: pin a name tag on Comey that says “untrustworthy, disgruntled former employee.”
3) All of that aside, was anyone making borscht with the Russians? Remember, this whole mess started with the idea that the Russians were meddling with the election. Comey is generally cagey with info about investigations (Hillary’s emails aside) but keep your ears open. If he hints at collusion between anyone on Team Trump and the Kremlin, it will send a shock wave down Pennsylvania Avenue hard enough to rattle the White House china.