James Comey To Testify Privately To The House Judiciary Committee
Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in private before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, after a fight with Republicans on the committee over whether the hearing would be open to the public.
Under an agreement reached Sunday, Comey will testify behind closed doors, but the committee will release a transcript of his testimony, which Comey can then make public. Comey had initially resisted a closed hearing.
According to Comey's lawyer, David Kelley, "The Judiciary Committee will make available to Mr. Comey a full transcript of that testimony within 24 hours" or "as soon as is reasonably practicable." Comey is then "free to make any or all of that transcript public as he is free to share with the public any of the questions asked and testimony given during the interview."
Comey tweeted, "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."
The committee is expected to question Comey about decisions made by the FBI in 2016, including the agency's investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, and possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
NPR's Scott Neuman reports:
In a legal brief and then in an oral argument before U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden in Washington, Kelley said he worried that if Comey's hearing were closed, Republicans would selectively leak parts of his deposition. Kelley said a closed hearing could result in "a shadow on the witness but bright lights for the committee member who seeks partisan advantage by peddling a misleading account of the witness's testimony," according toThe Washington Post.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., issued a statement on Comey's withdrawn objection to the committee's subpoena:
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