The Washington establishment and media elite has gone into a full-blown craze over a Senate hearing on Thursday featuring fired FBI Director James Comey.
Broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have all announced they’ll be carrying the hearing live, and CNN already has a countdown clock to Comey’s testimony — usually reserved for elections and major events.
CNN, known for hyping up politics as sports events, compared the hearing to the Superbowl:
FOX News will also carry the hearing, and MSNBC is expected to announce its plans soon. CNN.com plans to livestream the testimony without requiring a log-in to a cable provider.
At least two bars in D.C. have announced they will be opening early for the 10 a.m. hearing, and offering drink specials, some Russian-themed.
Shaw’s Tavern is opening at 9:30 a.m. for what it’s billing on Facebook as “The Comey Hearing Covfefe,” with $5 flavored-Russian Vodka shots and a $10 “FBI” sandwich and an “FBI” breakfast. All five of their TVs will feature the hearing. Some people commenting on the event page indicated they would work from the bar, and inquired whether there would be wireless internet.
The wall-to-wall media coverage is occurring despite a recent showing that Americans care most about the economy and healthcare.
In a recent Gallup poll, 21 percent of Americans polled cited economic issues as their top concern — the largest single topic of all concerns. Of non-economic concerns, 18 percent cited health care, and 18 percent cited dissatisfaction with government/poor leadership.
While Washington will be glued to their TV sets and computers on Thursday, Trump will be speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference and participating in an infrastructure summit with governors and mayors.
The event will highlight his push to modernize American infrastructure, its highways, waterways, electrical and airway systems.
This week, the administration stayed focused on other key items in its domestic agenda.
On Monday, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced the VA would adopt the same medical records system as the Defense Department, to enable streamlining between the two, and speed up the process of veterans receiving care.
On Tuesday evening, Trump will host Republican congressional leaders at the White House for a dinner focused on his recent trip overseas.
And while the media continued to hype the hearing, some began expressing worry the hearing would not live up to the hype.
Comey may also limit what he wants to say in a public setting, especially when it comes to sensitive or classified material. Increasing that likelihood is the fact that there is also a closed hearing after the open hearing, during which the former FBI director is expected to speak more freely.
The Senate Intelligence Committee hearing is slated to begin at 10 a.m. eastern and begin with opening statements from the chairman and vice chairman of the committee. Comey will then deliver an opening statement, and senators will have the opportunity to question Comey, with multiple rounds of questions expected. The hearing is expected to last hours. The closed hearing is scheduled at 1 p.m. eastern.