Ex-FBI Director Comey Strikes Deal to Testify, Drops Legal Challenge

December 3, 2018 Updated: December 3, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey agreed to provide a voluntary interview to House lawmakers on Dec. 7, according to his attorney.

Attorney David Kelley told The Epoch Times in an email that his client agreed to withdraw the court motion to quash the subpoena in exchange for a set of conditions, including an agreement that Comey’s interview will be voluntary rather than compelled.

The House Judiciary Committee will provide Comey with a transcript of his testimony within 24 hours and the ex-FBI head will be free to share the transcript and discuss his testimony, said Kelley. According to court documents (pdf) filed by the House of Representatives, the Judiciary Committee had offered these conditions to Comey before he challenged the subpoena in court.

Kelley also noted that an “FBI representative will be present to advise concerning the disclosure of FBI information” as long as the interview remains voluntary.

Comey withdrew his motion to quash the subpoena on Dec. 2. A federal judge at the district court in Washington dismissed the motion and ordered the case closed shortly after.

The House Judiciary committee sent subpoenas to Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Nov. 21. The next day, Comey wrote on Twitter that he plans to “resist” the subpoena. His attorneys filed a motion with a federal court on Nov. 29.

Since October last year, Republicans from the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees have been investigating actions taken by the FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) in 2016. The lawmakers are specifically probing the conduct of government officials in relation to the investigations of Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign.

The testimonies by Comey and Lynch represent the final stage of the joint committee investigation. According to court documents, the committee will issue a final report on its findings “in a few short weeks.”

Republicans will lose their majority on the committee—and with it the power to conduct investigations—on Jan. 1. Democrats are expected to terminate Republican probes and launch investigations of their own.

According to the court documents, none of the 16 witnesses interviewed by the joint committees to date have resisted a closed-door deposition. The committees have spoken to some of the key players in the Clinton and Russia investigations, including former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok played a lead role in both probes.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading the probe into the Russia investigation, removed Strzok from his team after reviewing text messages between Strzok and Page which revealed the pair’s intense bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton. Strzok and Page, who were having an affair at the time, discussed an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely” event Trump won the presidency in 2016.

Part of the House investigation focused on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI secured to wiretap former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. FBI officials used a now-discredited dossier of opposition research on Trump as the core of a secret-court application to secure the warrant.

A separate investigation by the House Intelligence Committee found that the opposition research dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Christopher Steele, a former British spy, used second- and third-hand sources with ties to the Kremlin to compile the document.

The FBI and DOJ included the dossier in the FISA application knowing that Steele had breached bureau policies by talking to the media and was opposed to Trump becoming president. The applicants also failed to disclose that Clinton paid for the dossier. Comey signed the initial application and two renewals.

Trump fired Comey in May last year, triggering a series of developments that led to Mueller’s appointment. Comey admitted to leaking his FBI memos in hopes that a special counsel would be installed. At least one of the memos contained classified information, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

A group of 11 Republican lawmakers referred Comey for criminal investigation in April. In a letter (pdf) sent to the heads of the FBI and DOJ, they accuse Comey of leaking classified information and investigative misconduct.

Comey has said that he wants to testify publicly instead of behind closed doors. In prior testimony to Congress, Comey used the public setting as a reason to not answer nearly 100 questions, according to Rep. Trey Gowdy(R-S.C.).

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