Comey reaches deal with Republicans, agrees to testify
On Sunday, it was reported that James Comey had dropped his legal challenge to a GOP-led subpoena effort to compel him to testify before Congress.
The former FBI director now will appear before the panel in a closed door session, just as House Republicans had demanded.
Comey is set to appear on December 7 as part of a joint investigation by the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees into the Justice Department and the FBI’s decision-making in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.
The former FBI director has been under attack by Republicans ever since he declined to recommend criminal charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private server to conduct government business.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) previously had issued a subpoena for Comey to testify behind closed doors on November 21.
Comey last week filed a motion with the Washington, D.C. federal court to discard the subpoena in an effort to keep his testimony public. Previously he had said he would only testify publicly, due to concerns over how his testimony might be twisted.
He tweeted as much last week as well, writing, “Let the American watch,” as he linked to his lawsuit.
Today my legal team filed court papers to try to get transparency from House Republicans. Let the American people watch. https://t.co/4kPFDzDPkN
— James Comey (@Comey) November 29, 2018
His lawyers sought to halt the deposition “to prevent the Joint Committee from using the pretext of a closed interview to peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative about the Clinton and Russian investigations through selective leaks.”
The Judiciary Committee’s legal team dismissed this in a filing, calling Comey’s effort “extraordinary and frivolous.”
Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.
— James Comey (@Comey) December 2, 2018
Comey’s announcement on Sunday that the two sides had reached an agreement comes just one day before before a judge was set to rule on his bid to block the subpoena.
Under the new agreement, lawmakers will provide the full transcript of Comey’s testimony within 24 hours and he will be allowed to make the whole thing, or parts of it, publicly available should he choose to do so according to his lawyer David Kelley.
“This ensures both transparency and access for the American people to all the facts,” Goodlatte tweeted last week about the offer to make the transcript public.
In a tweet on Sunday, Comey welcomed the new arrangement. He said, “Will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done … This is the closest I can get to public testimony.”