The Republican House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas for former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appear for closed-door testimony next month, Politico reports.
The subpoenas were issued Wednesday and revealed publicly Thanksgiving morning. Comey previously rejected the committee’s request for him to appear before the GOP-led inquisition and his position didn’t waver after the subpoenas made headlines Thursday morning.
“Happy Thanksgiving. 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,” Comey tweeted.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has demanded private depositions from Comey on December 3 and Lynch on December 4. Republicans have been investigating FBI actions and decision-making in the 2016 campaign, arguing that anti-Trump bias among senior officials led the bureau to downplay the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email server and instead focused on the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia. The investigation will end when Democrats take over the committee in January.
David Kelley, an attorney for Comey, said his client will fight the order in court.
“Mr. Comey embraces and welcomes a hearing open to the public, but the subpoena issued yesterday represents an abuse of process, a divergence from House rules and its presumption of transparency. Accordingly, Comey will resist in Court this abuse of process.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democrat who is expected to chair the panel next year, criticized the subpoenas 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.”