Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify under oath Thursday about his conversations with President Trump as part of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Why does it matter?
Comey's testimony could demonstrate whether Trump used the power of his office to try to obstruct justice in the investigation of former National Security Director Michael Flynn.
Some lawmakers say such a finding could become the legal basis for an impeachment hearing for Trump. Other lawmakers were focused on finding the sources of leaked information about the administration.
In his opening remarks for Thursday's hearing, Comey said Trump asked for his loyalty during a personal meeting on January 27.
Comey's testimony Thursday will surround the following topics:
- Did Trump pressure him to drop the Russia investigation?
- Did Trump ask him to drop an investigation of Flynn, who was forced to resign after he was accused of lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Russian officials?
How did we get here?
Email server investigation
- Comey closed the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server and concluded he wouldn’t press any federal charges.
- Trump denounced the director’s decision via Twitter.
- In late October, just days before election day, Comey reopened the investigation into another set of Clinton’s emails that were initially leaked by WikiLeaks and later found on the laptop of the husband of a Clinton staffer.
- Following that investigation, Comey again concluded he wouldn’t file any charges against Clinton.
- On May 9, the FBI sent a letter to the White House reporting errors in the director’s handling of the email investigation.
- The White House cited that letter as the reason he was fired just hours later.
Possible Russian influence
- Chatter about the Russian government interfering with the presidential election hit airwaves last fall.
- It wasn’t until March 20 that Comey publicly said the FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign interacted with the Russian government.
- Trump admitted in an interview with NBC that Comey’s Russia investigation did have something to do with his firing.
- A federal contractor was arrested Monday after she allegedly leaked a ‘top secret document’ to a news outlet that reportedly contains evidence of Russia’s interference with the election.