Speed Reads

comey day

The RNC has 60 staffers ready to undercut James Comey's testimony on Thursday

President Trump "feels completely and totally vindicated" by former FBI Director James Comey's prepared opening statement for his Senate testimony, Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, said Wednesday. And just to make sure Trump is vindicated, Kasowitz will be handling the White House response to Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, a pro-Trump PAC is running TV ads accusing Comey of "showboating," Trump may or may not be responding on Twitter, and, according to The Wall Street Journal, "a team of about 60 staffers" at the Republican National Committee will "lead a political offensive aimed at Democrats as well as the nation's former top law enforcement officer."

Along with the all-hands RNC pushback on Comey, a congressional witness, the GOP political operation has distributed talking points for the surrogates it has lined up to defend Trump, and undermine Comey, on TV. Some of them seem kind of contradictory — "Director Comey and his deputy have even admitted under oath there was not obstruction" followed immediately by "Director Comey has a long history of blatant contradictions and misstatements."

"It's the RNC's top priority to support and defend the White House," says Ryan Mahoney, the RNC communications director. "We've built a robust operation to ensure we're doing that effectively." The RNC is taking the lead in bashing Comey because White House aides are "aware of the legal risk they face themselves," and "are nervous about personally attacking Comey for his testimony, fearing it could boomerang back against them," Politico reports. It's not clear if they'll be able to keep Trump from live-tweeting the hearing, though they'll try, keeping him busy and hopefully away from the TV on Thursday morning. Still, one official said, "if he wants to watch it, it's not like we can say, 'oh, the TV doesn't work.'"

Trump will tweet if he wants to, and that's fine, a person who has advised Trump tells The Wall Street Journal. "It's not like someone who has an addiction that they can't stop," the person said. "He believes in his heart of hearts that he's the best communicator and it's worked out for him in the past."