WASHINGTON – A federal judge deferred a decision until Monday on whether to block a House subpoena demanding that former FBI Director James Comey provide testimony in a closed session about his prior oversight of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
David Kelley, a Comey attorney, argued in a brief court hearing Friday that the request was akin to “dragging (the former director) into a dark alley and nobody gets to see.”
“What is the purpose of keeping it out of the public eye?” he asked U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden.
Comey’s testimony, scheduled for Tuesday, is being sought by the outgoing Republican leaders of the of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
Kelley said the former director, who was abruptly fired last year by President Donald Trump over his management of the Russia investigation, said his client welcomed the chance to testify, as long as it was in a public setting.
“We wouldn’t be taking your time this afternoon, if the testimony was in public,” said Kelley, adding that the subpoena represented “an abuse of the legislative process” and a politically motivated effort to “distort” Comey’s management of both inquiries.
House attorney Thomas Hungar said the federal court had no authority to intervene in what he characterized as a “legitimate legislative purpose.”
“No federal district court in the history of the republic has granted the relief that Mr. Comey seeks,” Hungar told the judge.
McFadden, a Trump nominee, gave Kelley until Sunday to file additional papers supporting his argument.
Comey did not attend Friday’s session.
The request for Comey’s testimony comes as the House prepares to transition from Republican to Democratic leadership following the midterm elections.
Former FBI Director and longtime Republican, James Comey, urges all who ‘care’ to vote for Democrats this fall in the midterm elections. Veuer’s Chandra Lanier has the story.