Speed Reads

Comey Thursday

An 'infuriated' Trump prepares for Comey's testimony without his planned 'war room'

Former FBI Director James Comey will be all over TV on Thursday, and among those expected to tune in to his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is President Trump. His staff and legal team are hoping Trump decides not to live-tweet or even watch Comey's testimony, and they have "a very, very busy day" planned for him, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. But a fuming "Trump is keen to be a participant rather than just another viewer," two senior White House officials tell The Washington Post, "including the possibility of taking to Twitter to offer acerbic commentary during the hearing."

The Post spoke with 20 "White House officials, Trump friends, and other well-connected Republicans" to get a sense of Trump's mindset and team preparations for Comey's potentially damaging revelations, and The Associated Press corroborates some of the details. Trump is "infuriated at a deep-gut, personal level that the elite media has tolerated [the Russia story] and praised Comey," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told The Washington Post. "He's not going to let some guy like that smear him without punching him as hard as he can." Longtime Trump confidante and adviser Roger Stone agreed: "He's not going to take an attack by James Comey laying down."

When a special prosecutor was named to take over the investigation into Russian election tampering and any collusion with the Trump campaign, the White House planned to set up a "war room" to coordinate the White House response. "That effort has largely stalled, both because of a lack of decision-making in the West Wing and concerns among some potential recruits about joining a White House under the cloud of investigation," AP reports. The Washington Post adds that there was uncertainty over who would staff the war room and if they would be trustworthy to Trump's top advisers and among one another.

Absent a war room, Trump and his allies have settled on a campaign-like effort to discredit Comey. An allied PAC is running an ad trashing Comey as a "showboater," the Republican National Committee has a list of anti-Comey talking points for its group of pro-Trump surrogates to recite on TV (the roster unveiled Tuesday "could hardly be described as star-studded," the Post said), and Trump is reaching out to some Republican senators who will be questioning Comey on Thursday. You can read more at The Washington Post.