The attorney for former FBI director James Comey says his client will fight a House Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify in private about his actions during the 2016 campaign.
Chairman Bob Goodlatte issued subpoenas to Comey and former attorney general Loretta Lynch. Instead of a private deposition, Comey says he wants a public hearing.
“Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans,” Comey tweeted. “I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a ‘closed door’ thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion. Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.”
David Kelley, an attorney for Comey, said Thursday that his client will fight the order in court.
“While the authority for congressional subpoenas is broad, it does not cover the right to misuse closed hearings as a political stunt to promote political as opposed to legislative agendas,” Kelley said.
Lynch has not yet commented publicly about the subpoenas.
Before the committee officially subpoenaed Comey and Lynch, Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democrat who is expected to chair the panel next year, criticized the move as “unfortunate.”
“Months ago, Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch both indicated their willingness to answer the Chairman’s questions voluntarily. My understanding is that the Republicans have had no contact with either the director or the attorney general since,” Nadler said last week.
Comey is probably right, but it’s not his place to judge whether the probe is “political” or not. He just doesn’t want to be placed in the impossible position of trying to defend his colleagues in the DoJ and the FBI who demonstrated a clear, partisan anti-Trump bias in their communications.
The fiction that this Trump hatred did not manifest itself in the “professional” investigations of Russian collusion or Hillary Clinton’s emails is only believed by the Washington press corps and six-year-old little girls. We might inquire whether the Washington press also believes in Santa Claus, but that would be insulting — to six-year-old little girls.
This is a last gasp for Goodlatte to try and get someone on record who acknowledges at least the possibility that virulently anti-Trump employees of the Justice Department might have colored their judgments based on their personal animus toward the president.
He won’t get it. But trying to make that case is worth it anyway.