A federal judge will decide Monday whether former FBI Director James Comey must testify before Congress next week. Comey isfrom House Republicans requiring him on Tuesday. He has instead offered to give public testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. He filed a motion to quash the subpoena on Thursday, accusing Republicans of wanting a closed interview to "peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative about the Clinton and Russia investigations through selective leaks."
House Republicans have just a few weeks before Democrats take control of committees and with that, control of subpoena power. The subpoena, issued last week, followed a New York Times report that Mr. Trump wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute rivals Comey and Hillary Clinton.
Attorneys for Comey and the U.S. government appeared before D.C. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden on Friday. Comey did not attend the hearing.
Comey's attorney, David Kelley, said that a closed-door deposition would be an abuse of congressional oversight power. He argued that the secrecy of the testimony would allow members of the Joint Committees to leak only the information that would serve their preconceived conclusions about the Justice Department and FBI's actions in 2016, specifically in relation to investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and 2016 election meddling.
He accused House Republicans of trying "to throw mud on the institutions" that facilitated those politically-charged investigations to serve a partisan purpose.
Thomas Hungar, the attorney representing the government, called Comey's motion "absurd." He noted that no judge in history had ruled to quash a congressional subpoena. Kelley replied that he and Comey were giving the judge the opportunity to make history.