Friday, 14 December, 2018

Comey Files Legal Challenge to Block House Republican Subpoena

James Comey James Comey Files Petition Challenging House GOP Subpoena Brendan Smialowsky Getty Images29 Nov 2018
Leonard Rios | 03 December, 2018, 04:35

Lawyers for Comey argued in a court filing on November 29, 2018, that he shouldn't have to appear for a closed-door interview with lawmakers next week.

The House judiciary and government oversight committees are conducting an inquiry into a pair of major FBI investigations conducted under Comey: the Hillary Clinton email probe and the investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

Comey said last week he had received the subpoena, and that while he was "happy to sit in the light and answer all questions", he would "resist" a closed door questioning. "What Jim Comey's intentions are, I don't know other than that it's pretty clear he doesn't want to come in and answer the detailed questions that we have".

Comey's lawyers cited a Supreme Court ruling born from the Joseph McCarthy Red Scare hearings in the 1950s and argued that the "abusive conduct" of the House investigation is in violation of Congress' own rules and done to "harass and intimidate witnesses".

The case was randomly assigned by the court Thursday night to Judge Trevor N. McFadden, a Trump appointee.

Kelly, one of three Comey defense attorneys present in court in lieu of Comey himself, argued that the House would have to issue a new subpoena should the date be moved.

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Comey and his defense team believe that, because of his prior public and private testimonies given to Congress, Republican lawmakers are attempting to play partisan games.

The joint committees have interviewed several key current and former FBI and DOJ officials involved in either one or both of the Clinton and Trump investigations, including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI officials Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Jonathan Moffa, and James Baker, and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

The Republican House leaders on the two committees, Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte, and their general counsel have said it is within House rules to require a private deposition and that the subject matter is of importance to the country. However, Comey is willing to make a testimony in public.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director previously said he would "resist a "closed door" testimony because he has seen enough of Republicans' "selective leaking and distortion".

Comey's attorney, David Kelley, said that a closed-door deposition would be an abuse of congressional oversight power. He was subpoenaed to appear next week.

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