Comey blinks in battle with Congress over 'grandiose' demand for public hearing

Comey blinks in battle with Congress over 'grandiose' demand for public hearing

A federal judge heard arguments from both sides on Friday, the day after Comey's legal filing. "Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don't believe in", Comey said in a Twitter post.

In a Sunday morning appearance on Fox News Channel's "Sunday Morning Futures", House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., previewed Comey's move, telling host Maria Bartiromo that he expected Comey would withdraw his motion.

They will likely ask him about the FBI's decisions in 2016 that determined the outcome of a investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's illicit use, while secretary of state, of a private email server where more than 100 classified documents were open to unfriendly governments' prying eyes. Republicans argued against Comey's motion to block the subpoena, noting that other current and former FBI officials have testified privately during the course of the committees' investigation of the Clinton and Trump probes.

At the heart of the case is whether the panel should be able to force Mr Comey to testify in secret about the FBI's investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server and whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation. Subpoenaed witnesses aren't entitled to dictate the terms under which they deliver testimony on Capitol Hill.

Comey had been attempting to make the hearing a public one, but agreed to testify in a private setting provided the transcript be released afterward. "This ensures both transparency and access for the American people to all the facts".

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Moscow denies meddling and Mr Trump denies campaign collusion, calling the Mueller investigation a political witch hunt.

But Hungar told the judge that Comey had been subpoenaed for a deposition, not a full committee hearing, and that depositions are always closed, whether in Congress or in civil suits around the country.

Comey resisted his November subpoena from House Republicans due to "their selective leaking and distortion".

The statement notes that Comey "ultimately made the decision" and was the "primary author of the press statement" announcing the decision not to prosecute Clinton.

In a legal brief and then in an oral argument before U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden in Washington, Kelley said he anxious that if Comey's hearing were closed, Republicans would selectively leak parts of his deposition.

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