Comey challenge to House subpoena goes to court

Hugh Fox
December 3, 2018

But Comey argues that a closed hearing would allow for 'selective leaks, is abusive to witnesses, and furthers no legitimate congressional goal, ' according to a court filing by his lawyers.

Comey, who has testified publicly on Capitol Hill about both the Clinton and Russian Federation investigations, balked at the subpoena because he said committees were prone to selectively reveal information for political purposes.

His lawyers say that his testimony in a closed-door interview would be "subject to selective leaking by members of the Judiciary Committee".

Gowdy pointed out in a separate interview that Comey used the public setting as an excuse to not answer almost 100 questions during his prior public appearances.

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Comey is not expected to attend Friday's hearing in person. Kelly told the judge they sought to quash the subpoena because it violated House rules, "harasses the witness", and had no "legitimate objective", adding that it "wreaks of political theater".

Judge Trevor McFadden, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by President Donald Trump, said he wanted to review the case over the weekend before making a ruling and scheduled a follow-up hearing for Monday at 10 a.m.

Attorneys for the US House called Comey's request "so extraordinary and frivolous that, as far as undersigned counsel is aware, no district court in the history of the Republic has ever granted such a request". Add James Comey as an interest to stay up to date on the latest James Comey news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Comey filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with three days left before his scheduled appearance before two House committees on the morning of December 3.

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The legal action from the controversial former Federal Bureau of Investigation director showed Comey was making good on a pledge to push back against the demand from House Republicans for a private deposition. He said that the House was not looking to hold a private deposition due to concerns about national security or law enforcement information, but because the deposition process is more efficient.

Comey provided previous testimony to Congress, both in public and in closed-door sessions, twice in 2016 and three times in 2017.

In a pair of tweets Thursday, Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., condemned Comey for doing what other witnesses have already done.

A Justice Department inspector general report issued earlier this year criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton matter, but said he did not exhibit political bias. He was subpoenaed to appear next week.

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