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.

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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: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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