Former FBI Director James Comey is resisting a congressional subpoena and many people are left to wonder why.
Comey himself says he does not wish to share his testimony in a closed-door session, where the cameras are turned off, the media is barred, and where classified information could be discussed. In place of the closed-door sessions with the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight Committee, Comey has said he would honor the subpoena and do the interview in an open session.
Some conservatives believe the move is an attempt to avoid discussing classified information, the very point of his subpoena in the first place.
House Republicans didn’t budge and now Comey is taking legal action to get out of the subpoena, ABC News reports.
Lawyers for former FBI Director James Comey have filed suit in federal court, challenging a congressional subpoena that demands he testify behind closed doors to a House panel allegedly powered by “a poisonous combination of presidential tweets and the selective leaking that has become standard practice” for Republican lawmakers.
Before Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee hand control over to Democrats in January, they want to press Comey — and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch — on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the FBI’s subsequent probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Comey and his legal representation are looking to argue that leaks from Republican congressional committees could “peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative.”
According to the report, Comey has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. It read: “Mr. Comey asks this Court’s intervention not to avoid giving testimony but to prevent the [panel] from using the pretext of a closed interview to peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative about the Clinton and Russian investigations through selective leaks.”
Court documents read: “James B. Comey respectfully submits this motion and memorandum in support to quash the congressional subpoena. As set forth below, the subpoena, which calls for a closed, non-public deposition of Mr. Comey, exceeds a proper legislative purpose, is issued in violation of House rules, and unduly prejudices and harasses the witness. This motion is accompanied by a related motion to stay any proceedings thereunder until this motion may be heard.”
Similarly, in a tweet Comey posted shortly after receiving the subpoena, he said on Thanksgiving Day: “Got a subpoena from House Republicans. 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.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte responded over Twitter where he asked what Comey was “trying to hide” and said he would not be getting special treatment.
“The truth IS best served with transparency. What is Director Comey trying to hide from the American people with his baseless motion to quash?” Goodlatte tweeted.
And, “It appears Mr. Comey believes he deserves special treatment, as he is the only witness refusing to either appear voluntarily or comply with a subpoena. He needs to appear before the Committees, as all other witnesses have done. Let the facts come to light.”