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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare has a simple rule for watching FBI Director James Comey's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee this morning: "Comey's communicativeness…will almost certainly be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the Russia investigation." He lays out three scenarios:

  1. The Trump/Russia connections are a bust, so there's nothing to lose. Expect a chatty Comey to go all-in on the details of the investigation. It could be firestorm for Trump in the short-term, but indicates there would be no long-term Russia issues for POTUS.
  2. The Russia investigation is still ongoing but not fruitful, so Comey would likely stick to a just-the-facts presentation — communicative on wiretapping, mum on Russia.
  3. Russia is major, so Comey needs to protect the investigation. If he attempts not to make news and leaves a lot of liberal pundits disappointed, this could actually be a worst-case scenario for Trump in the long run.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."