In the final weeks of their majority, House Republicans plan to interview two key witnesses as part of a joint committee investigation into the FBI’s investigations of the Trump campaign and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) is preparing to subpoena former FBI director James Comey and former attorney general Loretta Lynch for closed-door depositions on Nov. 29 and Dec. 5 respectively, according to the AP.
The subpoenas are part of an investigation by two GOP-led committees into decisions made by the department during the 2016 election, when Democrat Hillary Clinton was cleared in a probe into her email use and Justice officials launched an investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russia. Both Comey and Lynch were in power during that time.
Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform panels have argued that Justice officials were conspiring against Trump’s election, and they have interviewed multiple current and former Justice officials behind closed doors in an effort to prove their case.
It’s unclear if Comey and Lynch will appear, but Comey has indicated in the past that he would be willing to testify at an open hearing.
He again conveyed his willingness to appear in a tweet Friday evening:
“House Republicans can ask me anything they want but I want the American people to watch, so let’s have a public hearing,” he said. “Truth is best served by transparency. Let me know when is convenient,” he said.
House Republicans can ask me anything they want but I want the American people to watch, so let’s have a public hearing. Truth is best served by transparency. Let me know when is convenient.
— James Comey (@Comey) November 16, 2018
Republicans will lose the House majority in January and both Chairman Goodlatte and the chairman of the House Oversight panel, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), are retiring.
A lawyer for Lynch did not respond to the AP’s request for comment.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who is poised to become the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, decried the GOP’s move in a statement:
“These subpoenas are coming out of the blue, with very little time left on the calendar, and after the American people have resoundingly rejected the GOP’s approach to oversight — if, indeed, ‘oversight’ is the word we should use for running interference for President Trump,” Nadler said.
During a closed-door deposition with House investigators early last month, the FBI’s former top lawyer, general counsel James Baker, reportedly “flipped” and revealed “explosive” information regarding the Russia probe.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported that Baker, who left the Bureau earlier this year, admitted that the FBI handled the Russia investigation in an “abnormal fashion” reflecting “political bias.”
During an appearance on Fox News in September, former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia Joe diGenova suggested that Comey would be indicted.
“I know that there is a grand jury underway, testimony is being taken about Strzok, Page, McCabe, and others involved in this case, and the reason we know it is that James Baker, the former general counsel of the FBI, has turned state’s evidence and is fully co-operating with the inspector general and the federal Grand Jury,” diGenova said confidently. “I can assure you, Mr. Comey has been very silent in recent weeks, and the reason is very simple: he knows he’s going to be indicted.”