ABC, CBS Salivate Over Upcoming Senate Hearing With James Comey

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Former FBI Director James Comey is set to speak before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after recently getting permission from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the FBI’s Russian meddling investigation. Comey is expected to field questions about a series of memos he allegedly wrote that unnamed sources claim to show that President Trump attempted to interfere with the said investigation. During their Monday evening broadcasts, ABC and CBS were eagerly awaiting the day of the hearing.

“Former FBI Director James Comey set to testify Thursday about his meetings with President Trump and the memos he kept about the meeting before he was fired,” hyped ABC Anchor David Muir as he led into the segment on World News Tonight. He added speculation to the story, asking: “Will President Trump try to stop him, invoking executive privilege,” even though he already knew the answer was no.

ABC’s Mary Bruce was the reporter behind the segment. “Tonight, that blockbuster testimony from the fired FBI director is moving forward. The White House now says definitely President Trump won't try to block him,” she announced in a dramatic tone. She followed that up with a clip of Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders plainly stating that fact. Bruce also rattled off a series of questions many hoped would spell doom for Trump:

Lawmakers are eager to know: Did President Trump ask Comey to pledge his loyalty? Did the President pressure Comey to drop his investigation into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn? And did Comey tell the President he wasn't under investigation, as Trump claims? Hanging over the hearing, the biggest question of all. Is there any evidence of collusion between the Trump team and the Russians?

She ended her report with a clip of Democratic Senator Mark Warner gleefully talking about how much smoke he sees. “There's a lot of smoke. We have no smoking gun at this point. But there is a lot of smoke,” he said.

Meanwhile, on CBS Evening News, they were looking forward to Thursday as well. “[The Senate Intelligence Committee] is investigating Russian meddling in the election and whether anyone in the Trump campaign was involved,” noted Anchor Scott Pelley as he handed it off to Nancy Cordes.

Cordes kicked off her report by calling into question why the Trump administration would not invoke executive privilege. She pitted the claims of Huckabee Sanders, who said the reason was “in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee;” up against Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who claimed that “if the President were to say he shouldn't testify, that would be very incriminating for the President.”

And it wasn’t just the Comey hearing that had CBS’s mouth watering, there was another high-profile hearing happening the day before Comey’s. “Two other top intelligence officials, including the head of the NSA, were also pushed by the President to downplay the Russia investigation. They'll testify on Wednesday,” she reported, leaning on more anonymous claims. “Scott, Senators are trying to determine whether all of this was just presidential banter or if it amounts to obstruction of justice.”

In contrast, NBC Nightly News ran a mere 20 seconds long brief for the story. It’s still early in the week so there is time for their excitement to grow. After their segments on the hearing, both ABC and CBS announced that they will be broadcasting the Comey hearing live for their audiences at 10 o’clock in the morning. The anticipation is that Comey’s testimony will damage Trump’s presidency. It would be interesting to see if their assumptions were proven false.

Transcript below:

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ABC
World News Tonight
June 5, 2017
6:41:55 PM Eastern

DAVID MUIR: Next to Capitol Hill. Congress back to work tonight after a break with that major showdown looming. Former FBI Director James Comey set to testify Thursday about his meetings with President Trump and the memos he kept about the meeting before he was fired. Will President Trump try to stop him, invoking executive privilege? Well, tonight, we have an answer on that from the White House. And ABC's Mary Bruce on the hill.

[Cuts to video]

MARY BRUCE: Tonight, that blockbuster testimony from the fired FBI director is moving forward. The White House now says definitely President Trump won't try to block him.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey's scheduled testimony.

BRUCE: Sources close to Comey say he's angry after being fired with no warning. On Thursday, he'll get to tell his side of the story. Front and center will be his private conversations with the President. He's preparing to answer questions about those memos he wrote detailing their encounters.

What's your one key question for him?

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MARCO RUBIO: We've seen these reports that are been attributed to Comey. And the questions are going to be about whether that's how it happened. No one has heard from him directly.

BRUCE: Lawmakers are eager to know: Did President Trump ask Comey to pledge his loyalty? Did the President pressure Comey to drop his investigation into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn? And did Comey tell the President he wasn't under investigation, as Trump claims? Hanging over the hearing, the biggest question of all. Is there any evidence of collusion between the Trump team and the Russians?

MARK WERNER: There's a lot of smoke. We have no smoking gun at this point. But there is a lot of smoke.

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: So let's get to Mary Bruce, live on the hill again tonight. The committee has requested those memos as you reported there, Mary. But lot of questions about whether or not the public will ever see them.

BRUCE: David, lawmakers remain hopeful but no clear answer yet on when we might see those memos. Regardless, lawmakers I talk with are confident that Comey will be discussing those private conversations with the President.

MUIR: We know you’ll be right there on the hill for us Mary, thank you.

...

CBS Evening News
June 5, 2017
6:33:52 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: The White House said today that the President will not invoke executive privilege to keep fired FBI Director James Comey from testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee. That panel is investigating Russian meddling in the election and whether anyone in the Trump campaign was involved. Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill.

[Cuts to video]

NANCY CORDES: The deputy white house press secretary said today the President has the right to block Comey's testimony but won't. Why?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: In order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

CORDES: Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi argued the President had no choice.

NANCY PELOSI: I think if the President were to say he shouldn't testify, that would be very incriminating for the President.

CORDES: Democrats and Republicans want to know more about the memos Comey kept outlining the president's alleged request that he drop his investigation into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

SUSAN COLLINS: The tone, the exact words that were spoken, and the context are so important.

CORDES: On Face the Nation, intelligence committee members Susan Collins and Mark Warner described the questions they'll have for Comey on Thursday.

MARK WERNER: And two, I want to know what kind of pressure, appropriate, inappropriate, how many conversations he had with the President about this topic.

CORDES: Committee Chair Richard Burr does not expect the FBI will hand over Comey's memo before the Thursday hearing, but...

RICHARD BURR: Oh, I think eventually nothing in Washington stays locked up forever.

[Cuts back to live]

CORDES: Two other top intelligence officials, including the head of the NSA, were also pushed by the President to downplay the Russia investigation. They'll testify on Wednesday. Scott, Senators are trying to determine whether all of this was just presidential banter or if it amounts to obstruction of justice.

PELLEY: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill. Thank you, Nancy.