House Republicans ready subpoenas for James Comey, Loretta Lynch

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, in its final days in power, is planning to issue subpoenas to ...

Posted: Nov 17, 2018 8:58 PM
Updated: Nov 17, 2018 8:58 PM

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, in its final days in power, is planning to issue subpoenas to former FBI Director James Comey and President Barack Obama's attorney general Loretta Lynch, according to a source with knowledge of the subpoenas.

The source said the committee chairman, Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, plans to issue the subpoenas on Monday for Comey to appear for a closed-door deposition on November 29 and for Lynch to appear on December 5. The interviews are part of the House Republican investigation into the FBI's handling of the Clinton email probe and the Russia investigation.

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Comey's lawyer, David Kelley, told CNN on Friday that, "We have not heard from them since October 1 when we advised the Committees (Judiciary and Oversight and Reform) that, while we respectfully declined their invitation for a closed door interview, we would welcome the opportunity to testify in a public hearing."

Comey has previously rejected the committee's request for him to appear privately before the GOP-led inquiry, saying he would rather testify publicly instead.

In a tweet Friday, Comey again postured for a public hearing, saying, "Truth is best served by transparency."

"House Republicans can ask me anything they want but I want the American people to watch, so let's have a public hearing," he said. "Truth is best served by transparency. Let me know when is convenient."

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democrat who is expected to chair the panel next year, railed against the move.

"It is unfortunate that the outgoing Majority is resorting to these tactics," Nadler said. "Months ago, Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch both indicated their willingness to answer the Chairman's questions voluntarily. My understanding is that the Republicans have had no contact with either the Director or the Attorney General since."

Nadler added: "These subpoenas are coming out of the blue, with very little time left on the calendar, and after the American people have resoundingly rejected the GOP's approach to oversight — if, indeed, 'oversight' is the word we should use for running interference for President Trump. Witnesses have an obligation to comply with committee subpoenas, but the committee has an obligation to issue those subpoenas with care."

A spokeswoman for Goodlatte did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Goodlatte, who is retiring at the end of the year is conducting a joint investigation with Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, who is also leaving Congress. Goodlatte said earlier this week that the committees were still working to finish the investigation before the next Congress.

"Our investigation is continuing. It will definitely wrap up by January 3 at 12 noon. We're working on it," Goodlatte said.

Another potential witness still hanging over the GOP-led investigation is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Conservatives on the panels demanded that Rosenstein appear to answer their questions about his reported discussion of wearing a wire to record the President and the 25th Amendment, but a scheduled meeting with Rosenstein last month was postponed, and it has not been rescheduled.

That's frustrated conservative Republicans, including Rep. Jim Jordan, who could make a bid to be the top Republican on the Judiciary panel next year.

"It's been 8 weeks since @nytimes reported that Rod Rosenstein talked to subordinates about recording the President and invoking the 25th Amendment. Why has Mr. Rosenstein still not testified in front of Congress?" Jordan tweeted on Thursday.

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