House Republicans are making a last-ditch move to call on former FBI Director James Comey to testify in a private deposition, but he has other ideas.
On Thanksgiving morning, Comey revealed that he had received a subpoena request from the House Judiciary Committee, which will be led by Republicans for only a few more weeks before they turn over control to Democrats. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the committee, has sent subpoenas to both Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for testimony, CNN reported.
The report added that Comey had pushed back against requests to appear in a closed-door hearing, saying he would only want to appear in a public setting. He made the same request in a tweet on Thursday.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
Some have characterized the requests as a last-ditch effort for Republicans who will soon be relinquishing power. The Democrats set to take over House committees have planned a series of investigations into Donald Trump that Republicans did not undertake while controlling Congress for the first two years of Trump’s presidency.
House Republicans have subpoenaed James Comey and Loretta Lynch for closed-door testimony https://t.co/5lSXWVRxln
— POLITICO (@politico) November 22, 2018
The requests to Comey and Lynch come just days after a report claimed that Donald Trump had sought to push the Department of Justice to prosecute both Comey and Hillary Clinton. The New York Times reported that Trump raised the idea of following through on plans to go after his political rival, which had been one of the chief promises he made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The White House lawyer Donald McGahn reportedly pushed back strong against Trump’s requests, saying it would be an abuse of his power to interfere with the Justice Department and seek to use it as a weapon against political enemies.
“Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power,” the report noted. “To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.”
The private depositions for James Comey and Loretta Lynch would be set to take place in the first week in December. House Republicans have not said if they would allow the testimony to be open to the public.