James Comey will tell the Senate about his Donald Trump encounter

The former FBI Director will open up to the Senate — but can't tell all

By Matthew Rozsa

Published May 31, 2017 3:09PM (EDT)

James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill, May 3, 2017.   (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill, May 3, 2017. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

The Dutch documentary "The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump" creates a case which alleges that Trump has connections to the Russian mob. It also explores the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have compromising intelligence on Trump that compels the president to avoid alienating the powerful dictator.

All of this is worth noting because, while the claims made in the documentary have not been proven, they provide an invaluable backdrop against the indisputably real drama playing out in Washington right now regarding the Trump-Russia scandal.

[salon_video id="14773814"]

Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify in the Senate that President Donald Trump wanted him to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a report by CNN.

Comey's Senate testimony, which could take place as early as next week, will be constrained by guidelines established between Comey and Robert Mueller III, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. Mueller and Comey are both striving to ensure that the former FBI director doesn't accidentally cause legal complications by his Senate testimony.

Although this significantly reduces the chances of Comey delving into the nitty gritty of the FBI's ongoing Trump-Russia investigation, it is likely that Comey will explore the conversations that he had with Trump prior to his termination. Reports have claimed that on one occasion Trump demanded "loyalty" from Comey and that on another occasion he asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn.

In related news, Congress is expanding its Trump-Russia investigation to include Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. In an email to ABC News on Tuesday, Cohen said that he would not appear to testify because "the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered. To date, there has not been a single witness, document or piece of evidence linking me to this fake Russian conspiracy. This is not surprising to me because there is none."

On Thursday the Senate Select Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to authorize both chairman Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and ranking Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia to issue subpoenas for the investigation.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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