Ex-FBI head James Comey drops challenge to US House panel subpoena

Leroy Wright
December 3, 2018

"This is the closest I can get to public testimony", he said. "Mr. Comey chose to file a motion to quash despite clear Supreme Court precedent setting forth Congress' authority to issue subpoenas compelling testimony before its committees".

Comey also expressed gratitude to U.S. Circuit Court Judge Trevor McFadden, an appointee of President Donald Trump, who is expected to make a formal ruling Monday.

Comey insisted he would only testify in public, not behind closed doors.

His lawyer, David Kelley, had accused Republican members of the committee of wanting a closed hearing so they could selectively leak parts of Mr Comey's testimony. Jerry Nader (D-N.Y.), backed Comey's original request for a public hearing. So [I] will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I'm free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours.

Republicans have accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department of going easy on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and of abusing the surveillance court process to obtain spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The Republican-led inquiry has been lambasted by Democrats as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

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Comey's lawyers argued that a closed hearing would allow for 'selective leaks, is abusive to witnesses, and furthers no legitimate congressional goal'.

The agreement came a day before lawyers were to appear at a court hearing.

"It appears Mr. Comey believes he deserves special treatment, as he is the only witness refusing to either appear voluntarily or comply with a subpoena", Goodlatte wrote. Republicans argued against Comey's motion to block the subpoena, noting that other current and former FBI officials have testified privately during the course of the committees' investigation of the Clinton and Trump probes.

"Mr. Comey will join us for a closed-door transcribed interview later this week", the statement said.

But the hearing is one of several planned by House Republicans in the lame duck session, before Democrats assume the House majority in January, which will focus on the activities and investigations of Clinton. Bob Goodlatte, decried Comey's use of "baseless litigation" and called it an "attempt to run out the clock on this Congress", a reference to the few weeks left before Democrats take control.

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