HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents holds more than 70,500 congressional hearings. That’s a lot to sift through! Luckily, we’ve created the Congressional Hearings Quick Finder Tool to help you quickly and easily locate the hearing you have in mind.
Follow along with this post to discover how to find some of the most famous congressional hearings, and then try it yourself!
The Congressional Hearings Quick Finder
Let’s go back just a few years to former FBI Director James Comey’s highly publicized hearing before the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). In 2017, the SSCI initiated an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, as well as the extent of President Donald Trump’s knowledge of that interference. After Trump fired James Comey from office, the former FBI Director testified before SSCI about his controversial dismissal.
To find the hearing in question, navigate to the U.S. Congressional Documents database and select the tab marked “Congressional Hearings.” Users may either browse an A-Z listing of all congressional hearings or use the Congressional Hearings Quick Finder tool at the top of the page.
The Quick Finder tool allows users to search for a hearing by congress, chamber, committee, and full text. Since we know the year of Comey’s testimony (2017, covered by the 115th Congress), the chamber (Senate) and the committee (Committee on Intelligence), let’s start by adding that information to the drop-down boxes.
After clicking the “Search” button, users will be redirected to a page listing all available results from the Senate Committee on Intelligence of the 115th Congress. However, this list is rather long and researchers don’t always have the time to manually analyze each result. Let’s go back to the Quick Finder tool and add a full-text search for “Comey” to our other selections.
This search yields all available results from the SSCI which mention the name “Comey.” This time, we only have twelve results to analyze. However, we don’t even have to look through them! Because HeinOnline’s search results are automatically sorted by relevance, the hearing we’re looking for is the very first result. Select “Open Hearing with Former FBI Director James Comey: Hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, First Session.”
Don’t forget to go back and take a look at the other hearings that mention Comey—they may illuminate the subject even further.
Users may notice that after they initially selected the drop-down options, buttons marked “Go to Congress,” “Go to Chamber,” and “Go to Committee” appeared. Choose any one of these to browse all available congressional hearings within the congress, chamber, or committee selected. For example, to view all available Senate hearings from the 115th Congress, select “Go to Chamber.”
Take a look at some of these other famous hearings, and then work backwards to see if you can find them yourself!