Comey challenges House GOP subpoena in federal court

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records NYT publisher: DOJ phone records seizure a 'dangerous incursion' on press freedom MORE is challenging a subpoena from House Republicans for his closed-door testimony in federal court, citing the “corrosive narrative” created by selective leaking by lawmakers.

Court records show that Comey filed a motion in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to quash a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for testimony on Dec. 3.

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Comey’s lawyers argued in a filing that the subpoena “exceeds a proper legislative purpose, is issued in violation of House rules, and unduly prejudices and harasses the witness. This motion is accompanied by a related motion to stay any proceedings thereunder until this motion may be heard.”

“Mr. Comey asks this Court’s intervention not to avoid giving testimony but to prevent the Joint Committee from using the pretext of a closed interview to peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative about the Clinton and Russia investigations through selective leaks,” wrote his attorneys Vincent Cohen and David Kelley.

House Republicans are interested in Comey’s testimony as part of their inquiry into allegations of bias at the Justice Department and FBI ahead of the 2016 elections. GOP lawmakers accuse top officials of exhibiting bias against then-candidate Donald Trump in their decisions with respect to the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE email investigation and the counterintelligence investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are probing the allegations of bias, which critics view as part of a broader effort to discredit Special Counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation into Russian interference and potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Comey, who was fired by President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE in May 2017, has become a fervent critic of the president. Comey embarked on a publicity tour over the summer for his book “Higher Loyalty” which is highly critical of Trump. 

Subpoenas to Comey and former attorney general Loretta Lynch were issued by House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.) last week. Comey has previously said that he would welcome testifying in public but would fight the subpoena for a closed-door appearance.

“The truth IS best served with transparency. What is Director Comey trying to hide from the American people with his baseless motion to quash?” Goodlatte commented on Twitter. “It appears Mr. Comey believes he deserves special treatment, as he is the only witness refusing to either appear voluntarily or comply with a subpoena. He needs to appear before the Committees, as all other witnesses have done. Let the facts come to light.”

The court filing Thursday cites a “corrosive narrative” created by leaks from House lawmakers as well as tweets from Trump criticizing the Justice Department and FBI over the Clinton and Russia investigations. It points to leaks about closed-door testimony from other Justice and FBI officials, including Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe MORE, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr.

“The broader purpose of these tweets and leaks appears to be mislead the public and 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,” the filing says.

The circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing are said to be under investigation by Mueller as he probes whether Trump obstructed justice.

-Updated 7:58 p.m.