With James Comey's much-anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee approaching, insiders say President Trump is getting ready for a fight. The former FBI chief's testimony begins Thursday morning, and Trump associates say the president is likely to be watching closely and tweeting furiously, reports the Washington Post, which describes the upcoming Senate proceeding as a "political Super Bowl." "He's not going to take an attack by James Comey laying down," says Trump friend Roger Stone. "Trump is a fighter, he's a brawler, and he's the best counterpuncher in American politics." In other developments:
- Sources tell the New York Times that, in a sign of how much Comey distrusted Trump, he told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he didn't want to be left alone with the president again following a private meeting. Comey did not tell Sessions, however, that Trump had asked him to drop the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the sources say.
- The hearing on alleged Russian meddling in the election opens Wednesday, and officials such as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are expected to face questions about Trump's firing of Comey, among other issues, reports Reuters.
- Sources tell the Washington Post that after a briefing in March, Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats if he could intervene with Comey to have the investigation of Flynn dropped. Coats, the nation's top intelligence official, discussed the request with other officials and decided it was inappropriate, the sources say.
- The AP reports that with Comey's testimony widely expected to reveal damaging new details about Trump's involvement with the Russia investigation, the White House and its allies are already trying to push back. The pro-Trump Great America Alliance group is airing an ad describing Comey as a "showboat" who was so obsessed with the Russia issue he failed to concentrate on fighting terrorism.
- Friends of Comey tell Politico that he's likely to stick to describing his interactions with Trump instead of discussing the wider Russia investigation with the Senate panel. Special counsel Robert Mueller is now leading a probe into the alleged election interference, and associates say Comey has already discussed his testimony with Mueller.
- Trump has declined to use executive privilege to try to stop Comey testifying. When asked about the testimony on Tuesday, the president said: "I wish him luck."
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