- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 2, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey said Sunday he plans to sit down with lawmakers this week behind closed doors, asking the court to withdraw his motion to halt their subpoena.

GOP chairmen, who are about to lose power in the new Congress in January, have been trying to bring Mr. Comey to Capitol Hill to explain his decisions related to the 2016 election, particularly investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email and the probe into Russian activities during the campaign.

He filed a motion to halt their subpoena and delay the proceedings last week, with his attorney telling a federal judge on Friday he would talk publicly, but said the closed-door session the House has planned is a set-up to “peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative about the Clinton and Russian investigations through selective leaks.”

“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,” Mr. Comey tweeted Sunday.

The deposition is set for Friday.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte anticipated Mr. Comey would withdraw his legal motion.

“The parties have been working together,” Mr. Goodlatte told Fox News. “I think that the strength of the presentation by Tom Hungar, the House counsel, on Friday in the House’s brief is very compelling.”

The federal judge who heard from the parties on Friday put off issuing a decision until Monday morning, where he was expected to continue the hearing.

But on Sunday, Mr. Comey’s lawyers petitioned the court to withdraw his earlier filing and cancel Monday’s hearing, which the judge granted.

Mr. Comey appreciates the court’s attention to the above-captioned matter, but has now reached an acceptable accommodation with U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary for voluntary testimony,” Mr. Comey’s lawyers said in court papers.

Mr. Goodlatte, who is retiring at the end of the year, told Fox News his committee needs to speak with Mr. Comey, so it can wrap up the probe into FBI actions during the 2016 election, and the use of a FISA court to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign associates.

With Democrats taking charge of the committee in January, it’s expected they would not continue pursuing the matter. But Mr. Goodlatte said he believes the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Lindsey Graham will continue to investigate what transpired during the 2016 election.

Mr. Comey’s testimony is a critical part of that,” Mr. Goodlatte said.

The top Democrat on the committee Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who is pegged to become the new committee chair in the incoming Congress, told NBC News the behind-door interview is inadequate and a public transcript doesn’t suffice.

“Let Comey testify in public. There is no military secrets here,” Mr. Nadler said on Sunday. “We ought to have openness and accountability to the American public.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, who leads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said a public hearing isn’t the solution and suggested video taping Mr. Comey’s deposition could remedy any concern over leaks.

“That way the public can see whether the question was fair. They can judge the entirety of the answer,” Mr. Gowdy previously told CBS.


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