As world prepares to watch, Idaho senator previews Comey testimony

Sen. Risch weighs in on Comey testimony.

BOISE -- It's one of the most anticipated hearings in the history of the U.S. Senate: the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey.

And Idaho Sen. Jim Risch has a front-row seat as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey will begin his testimony Thursday with an opening statement, which was released earlier Wednesday at his request.

In the statement, Comey recounts nine different conversations with President Trump. One of those confirms news reports that President Trump asked him to drop the investigation into then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

There is so much hype about Comey's testimony that it is being called the Super Bowl of Washington, D.C., with watch parties scheduled at D.C-area bars and restaurants.

MORE: Comey to Congress: President Trump told him "I need loyalty"'

The world is expected to watch as Comey testifies under oath.  Everyone wants answers, but only 15 senators get to ask the questions, including Sen. Risch.

"This is a big deal," said Risch. "Obviously anytime you're talking about the conduct of the president of the United States it is a big deal. No one is above the law, everyone has to comply with the law."

At issue will be Comey's interactions with President Trump that led to his firing in May, and the reported memos Comey wrote about those interactions.

We asked Sen. Risch: "If Comey testifies that President Trump did in fact ask him to 'let it go' regarding the FBI's investigation into Flynn, as reports of that memo suggest, would you continue to support President Trump or would you call for his impeachment?" 

"If the president asked him to do that, that is a serious matter," said Risch.  "If the president had a conversation with him along the line of, 'Well, how's this going, I want to get this over with more quickly,' that's an entirely different matter.  We need to really hear what Comey's going to say under oath before we take a position on where we want to go with this."

The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee will be the first to question Comey.  As the second in seniority among Republicans on the committee, Risch will be third in line to ask questions.  He will have seven minutes to do so.  Risch tells KTVB he's looking for Comey to refine previously made statements.

"I want to hear Mr. Comey say it in his own words," said Risch. "Obviously what everybody wants is the truth and always the best way to do that is ask questions and get answers. We have a national media that is very hateful and spiteful to the president of the United States, and as a result of that, everything they write is anti and everything that they write puts him in a bad light. That doesn't convict him of anything. What we've got to see is what are the facts," said Risch.

After Thursday's testimony, Risch and the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue to take more testimony and interviews.  They will eventually release a report on their findings.

© 2017 NBCNEWS.COM


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