James Comey's lawyer urged a judge Friday to block a subpoena requiring that the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director submit to a private interview before a House panel, arguing that Republican lawmakers want to take shots in a "dark alley".
Lawyers for Comey argued in a court filing on November 29, 2018, that he shouldn't have to appear for a closed-door interview with lawmakers next week.
The probe is looking at the FBI's decisions related to its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and its investigation into whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation.
The GOP-led House Judiciary Committee, attorney David Kelly argued, only wants to play politics and distort Comey's answers.
Gowdy pointed out in a separate interview that Comey used the public setting as an excuse to not answer almost 100 questions during his prior public appearances.
Comey's lawyers cited a Supreme Court ruling born from the Joseph McCarthy Red Scare hearings in the 1950s and argued that the "abusive conduct" of the House investigation is in violation of Congress' own rules and done to "harass and intimidate witnesses". Kelly told the judge they sought to quash the subpoena because it violated House rules, "harasses the witness", and had no "legitimate goal", adding that it "wreaks of political theater".
"James Comey is going to court to try to squash the House subpoena".
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Judge Trevor McFadden has scheduled the hearing just ahead of the subpoena's December 3 appearance date.
Lawyers for Comey filed the motion on Thursday in an attempt to keep him from having to appear before House Republicans in a closed-door meeting on Monday. He said that the House was not looking to hold a private deposition due to concerns about national security or law enforcement information, but because the deposition process is more efficient.
Comey says he would be willing to appear in public to testify where the public and the media would be present and his views could get aired in full.
They attached a series of news articles about closed-door congressional interviews that they said had been based on leaks.
A Justice Department inspector general report issued earlier this year criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton matter, but said he did not exhibit political bias. "But I will resist a "closed door" thing because I've seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion".
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter that it appeared "Comey believes he deserves special treatment, as he is the only witness refusing to either appear voluntarily or comply with a subpoena".