The Old & The Feckless: Why James Comey’s Senate Testimony Will Play Like A Daytime Soap

When Comey answers questions on the Senate floor, the revelations could be as oh-no-he-didn't scandalous as anything the regular soap lineup has on offer.

When Comey answers questions on the Senate floor, the revelations could be as oh-no-he-didn't scandalous as anything the regular soap lineup has on offer.

Former and Trump-fired FBI Director James Comey is testifying before Congress tomorrow. All major networks are going to run his Q&A with the Senate live, which is a bigly move, as some (not really) say.  

I’m having flashbacks to a white Bronco, a racist detective, and the surreal Fabio-aspirational calamity that was Kato Kaelin. Not since the O.J. Simpson trial has anything legal and reality-based pulled this kind of media attention. (No offense to Judge Judy. Then again, I am using “reality” here in its original, pre-TV connotation.)

But even more, I'm remembering the days of my youth, when I had breaks between college courses, and supplemented James Joyce and Alice Walker and Fyodor Dostoevesky with a few sides of As the World Turns, The Young and the Restless, and most devotedly, General Hospital.

Like the tornado of drama on daytime TV, news bombshells from the Trump administration have been dropping so fast and furious, it’s impossible to keep up. We’re not dealing with a biped or even a quadruped, but a centipede sporting 100 different kicks to shed — waiting for the “other shoe” to drop is for amateurs. We’re expecting a whole hoarder’s closet to finally detonate.

Comey’s testimony should yield some important feedback. Major questions to be answered:

1) How/when/where did Trump ask him to “back off” the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn?

2) Why did he feel it necessary to ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make sure he was never left alone with Trump? (That might seem obvious, but actual words from the mouth of Comey have the potential to yield unforeseen insights.)

3) Were there other, as-of-now unknown instances of the president acting inappropriately towards the FBI and its investigation?

4) Did Comey really believe that, at 6’ 8” tall, he could blend into the curtains?

Here are some revelations from the past 24 hours to just, you know, have in mind. Usually, these sort of headlines don't occur on the regular, but we're in General Hospital territory now, and there's simply no limit to the amount of times Sonny goes back to his life of crime. (Disclaimer: I haven't wathced the show since I was 19, circa 2002.)

1) Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly offered to resign.

2) Trump also allegedly pressured Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence, to influence a slowdown of the Flynn investigation.

3) Covfefe is a still a thing

And there’s this other little incident that happened, and I think it’s been lost in the deluge of 24/7 media, that bane of our time, etc., etc.

I'm referring to the Trump shove, wherein our president slapped back — literally — the leader of a foreign country. It’s disorienting to watch, even if you’re well-versed in the many accusations leveled at our POTUS over the years.

It’s just different to see it live, this grown man at 70 years old laying a hand on Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.

Let's look at a grown man physically bullying another grown man and admit that this functions as a psychological kneecap, a destabilizing of expectations.

It’s a bully move.

Imagine watching your boss do that to a coworker: physically shove him out of the way. Raise his chin up, button his jacket, look around and dare anyone to call him on it.

It’s so disorienting that understanding the impact of such an action takes a little time and distance. But I think it’s worth reflecting on.

Because such an incident changes the calculus. It makes normal negotiating impossible, because interaction is suddenly uncertain. Regular decorum: not guaranteed.

It’s what Trump did by isolating Comey, waiting until the two were alone to raise the issue of the FBI investigation into Flynn. 

These are tactics pulled straight off daytime television. All that's missing are the dysfunctional love webs, debilitating head wounds, and faked deaths. (Though there's still plenty of time left in Trump's term...)

When Comey answers questions on the Senate floor, the revelations could be as oh-no-he-didn't scandalous as anything the regular soap lineup has on offer. Sure, there may be no musical cues of impending doom or soft fades for the love scene lenses. (But now you will hopefully imagine them, and that should be fun. You're so welcome.)

But Trump can't barge in and order everyone out. He can't shove aside or slap Comey around. This is a venue in which Trump has no power except to watch and tweet, which could defs yield a feast of daytime drama, but is useless against stopping the tale of his (possible) interference in the FBI investigation from going on the permanent public record.

So I'm not saying take the morning off work to watch, okay? Be responsible, show up at your job, and just stick with Twitter.

But I am saying that if you do decide to take the playing hookie route and watch Comey testify live, you probably won't regret it.

Raise those covfefe cocktails, everyone, 'cuz this thing's about to go down. 

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