Comey challenge to House subpoena goes to court

Attorneys for former FBI Director James Comey and the US House of Representatives fought in court Friday aft...

Posted: Dec 2, 2018 4:28 AM
Updated: Dec 2, 2018 4:28 AM

Attorneys for former FBI Director James Comey and the US House of Representatives fought in court Friday afternoon over whether Comey must testify to Congress in a private hearing next week.

While Comey technically seeks to pause or kill the subpoena, he is using the case to air his accusation that members of the Republican-led House and Senate selectively leak details for their own benefit when they call witnesses to testify in private.

Continents and regions

Court witnesses

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Investigations

James Comey

Law and legal system

Law courts and tribunals

Political Figures - US

Politics

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Subpoenas

Trial and procedure

US Congress

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

US House of Representatives

Testimony

Loretta Lynch

Attorneys for the House called Comey's request "so extraordinary and frivolous that, as far as undersigned counsel is aware, no district court in the history of the Republic has ever granted such a request."

Judge Trevor McFadden said at the hearing that he hoped to rule Monday morning after meeting again with both legal teams.

The meat of Friday's dispute was how each side characterizes Comey's congressional subpoena. Comey's team says Congress is in violation of its own rules by not conducting its fact-finding hearing in public. The hearing won't require that level of secrecy because no sensitive law enforcement information is expected to be discussed, Comey's team said.

The House general counsel countered that because Comey's testimony would be a deposition with staff, a public session isn't required.

McFadden asked whether Comey could release a transcript of his testimony to get the full picture before the public. But Comey's lawyers said that would take too much time, allowing leaks of the information before Comey could release his full testimony.

When McFadden asked Comey's attorney whether he agreed with the House that a judge has never limited Congress in this way before, the lawyer David Kelley responded, "Here's your opportunity, Judge."

Comey has said he would like to testify publicly about the separate investigations into Hillary Clinton's email practices and Russian interference in the 2016 election -- in front of live TV cameras as he has done before.

"The broader purpose of these tweets and leaks appears to be to mislead the public and to undermine public confidence in the FBI and the DOJ during a time when President Trump and members of his administration and campaign team are reported to be under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and other law enforcement authorities," Comey wrote in his complaint. He says he is a "victim" of Congress' "unauthorized and abusive tactics."

Comey did not attend Friday's hearing in person.

He has asked the judge to issue an emergency order to pause the congressional proceedings and to quash the subpoena. In theory, Comey could lose his court challenge and still win what he's seeking, if he manages to convince the judge to pause his subpoena until the House flips to Democratic control at year's end.

Kelley acknowledged as he emerged from the hearing that it's "an unusual case."

"It's an unusual case, an important case and it's a challenge for all of us to deal with some pretty weighty issues that really haven't been dealt with before," he said.

Kelley refused to answer questions about whether Comey will show up on Capitol Hill for the closed-door interview, now scheduled for Tuesday.

He said Comey "is opposed to the process being used here that is a clear abuse of the legislative process."

He added, "Surely, Congress has an important oversight function, but here they're not really serving a legitimate legislative purpose, which is demonstrated by the way they've done this in the shadows."

The case initially was set to be heard by Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, then was reassigned randomly to McFadden, also a Trump appointee, after Kelly likely recused from the case.

Ex-AG Lynch not expected to appear on Hill next week

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who also was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee to appear behind closed doors on Tuesday, is negotiating with the committee to appear at a later date, according to two sources familiar with the discussions, who say the Obama appointee is not expected to appear next week.

Lawyers for Lynch have declined to comment.

Unlike Comey, Lynch has not so far taken legal action to try to quash the subpoena to appear before the committee in private.

This story has been updated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Columbus
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 55°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather