Not so much about the politics of it but about the organization of the room and customs of congressional hearings:

In James Comey's testimony today, who were all the people in the back of the hearing room with laptops at tables, and also who were the people just behind Comey on chairs?

Are they press, congressional aides, members of the intelligence community, a mixture, what?

Back of the room shot from NBC coverage at about 17:12 mark: full room

Seats behind comey shot from NBC coverage at about 20:10 mark:seats

Note that I'm not asking specifically who these people are. I'm not looking for names.

I'm just curious as to what role they played in the hearing and/or who they were there on behalf of. Why were they in the room when the hearing could have seemingly gone on without them? (Since only congress members and Comey do the talking.)

  • 2
    It's likely the members of the public since it's a public hearing.
    – Panda
    Jun 9, 2017 at 5:11
  • @Panda But the tables were not situated so they could easily watch, and the public would not all come with lots of laptops and papers. It doesn't look like observers in a gallery-type area. Jun 9, 2017 at 6:29
  • far back of the room I'd say public. Laptops on tables journalists. This leaves the people on the chairs right behind Comey.
    – Federico
    Jun 9, 2017 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


The people at the tables with laptops are journalists from around the world. See, for example, these photos from the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan‏: photo 1, photo 2.

The non-journalists include people (including some Congressional staff) who had queued for hours, and those with reserved seats who presumably have a particular interest; this appears to include certain Representatives and Senators.

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