Former FBI Director Comey Sues to Quash House Subpoena

Arturo Kim
December 3, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey has asked a US judge to quash a subpoena from congressional Republicans compelling him to testify behind closed doors about his decisions on the Russian Federation investigation ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

"Comey asks this court's intervention not to avoid giving testimony but to prevent the joint committee from using the pretext of a closed interview to peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative", the filing said.

"I don't get a chance to say this often, but I do think Jim Comey is right", Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House government oversight committee told CBS in an interview which aired on November 25. "I'm still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions".

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".

In court documents, they wrote that House committees had been leaking to "support a false political narrative, while subjecting the witnesses to a variety of abuse".

Judge Trevor McFadden has scheduled the hearing just ahead of the subpoena's December 3 appearance date.

Republicans had initially ordered Comey to appear on Monday, but Thomas Hungar, a lawyer for the House, said Friday that Comey's deposition is now being pushed back to Tuesday.

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His attorneys argue the subpoena request violates House rules, which they assert operate under the presumption that hearings be open to the public.

Republicans have alleged the FBI is biased against Trump, pointing to Comey's decision to publicly announce the FBI would not bring charges against Clinton, as well as text messages that disparaged Trump exchanged between two former FBI staff who worked on the email probe.

Comey says he would be willing to appear in public to testify where the public and the media would be present and his views could get aired in full.

A Justice Department watchdog released a report earlier this year detailing Strzok's bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton.

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".

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

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