Republicans on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this week subpoenaed former FBI Director James Comey and ex-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss their respective involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign. According to the subpoenas, they are due to testify in private on December 3 and 4 respectively.
But Comey has announced he plans on resisting the subpoena -- a last-ditch chest-thumping by ranking Committee member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in the final weeks of the GOP's majority in the House -- unless he is allowed to testify publicly.
In a "Happy Thanksgiving" tweet on Thursday, Comey said he would be "happy to sit in the right and answer all questions," but will "resist a “closed door” thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion."
"Let's have a hearing," he added," and invite everyone to see."
Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans. I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all quest… https://t.co/8eQVhlO40w— James Comey (@James Comey)1542900090.0
Comey's lawyer David Kelley issued a more extensive statement, calling the request for closed hearings a "political stunt."
“Mr. Comey embraces and welcomes a hearing open to the public, but the subpoena issued yesterday represents an abuse of process, a divergence from House rules and its presumption of transparency. Accordingly, Mr. Comey will resist in court this abuse of process.”
The full statement from Comey’s lawyer David Kelley: https://t.co/e4bMWeqwr7— Kyle Cheney (@Kyle Cheney)1542902154.0
Following his tweet, Comey has been enjoying an impressive amount of support on social media.
@Comey @FireZMissiles That's how a innocent man responds to a request to answer questions.— Danton's Head (@Danton's Head)1542982649.0
@NashobaTC @Comey No closed door means crooked #fakepresident cronies rewrite the facts. Open door only!— texastreasures0 (@texastreasures0)1542986850.0
@Comey Perhaps #HouseReplublicans want to talk to #Comey about #IvankasEmails in private, so no one will know.… https://t.co/MOndgUlGZR— Taiwan Martinez (@Taiwan Martinez)1542981308.0
@Comey Dont let them get away with a closed door hearings like the Dickstein-McCormick hearings. The same 1% family… https://t.co/XkWA6WMZq9— Peter M. Gatliff (@Peter M. Gatliff)1542982133.0
@Comey I agree - we need open depositions so we can hear the real testimony not Jordan’s spin— teresa (@teresa)1542982034.0
People are all about keeping the foundering GOP in check.
@chibimaddy @333_russ @suzziees3 @_standchen @Comey Or it could be that Comey just wants to keep everything in the… https://t.co/gmH3B4E3du— SpPalmer (@SpPalmer)1542994984.0
@Comey @pierce_bunny I agree. I think we all should hear the questions and the answers. How dare the GOP do this.… https://t.co/v2xO8nxxh6— Karen Davidson (@Karen Davidson)1542982256.0
@Comey House Republicans handing out subpoenas at this late date is desperation personified.— Steven White (@Steven White)1542987046.0
@stevenjwhite @Comey Exactly. Yet they have the cojones to act like trump is above a subpoena. Bad look. Cant they… https://t.co/LUOS0WFUlf— ArielJohnson (@ArielJohnson)1542992671.0
@toots717 @Comey @DavidTa84534406 Well, most criminals try to slither in the dark. They are being forced into the light.— Elinor (@Elinor)1542991521.0
@Comey @TheMicheleWojo since you no longer have a security clearance, nothing discussed would be secret so it SHOULD be open and televised.— Sue Voted. (@Sue Voted.)1542982364.0
@subanski @Comey @TheMicheleWojo Finally! Gotta scroll down way too much in the comments to find this logical tweet… https://t.co/omg6tCOq6q— TBD 👨🏻🦼 (@TBD 👨🏻🦼)1542993955.0
People think they know why the Republicans don't want the testimony to be public.
@Comey Yes. Public hearing. Though at times painful to watch with esp. GOP blustering and grandstanding, only a p… https://t.co/T87VJ5Qgya— C. Desau. 🌊🍑 (@C. Desau. 🌊🍑)1542982424.0
@Comey @mhcandrmt Sunshine is the best disinfectant.— Char (@Char)1542984074.0
@FireZMissiles @phinathome @Comey I wouldn't have wanted to be in his shoes given the political environment these d… https://t.co/sgtQizTwgR— Danton's Head (@Danton's Head)1542991297.0
@Comey 🤔🤔🤔. I think he knows what he's talking about. Too many times things have been leaked out of context and mos… https://t.co/33s48J0MBb— Terry 🌊🌊🌊 (@Terry 🌊🌊🌊)1542984377.0
Keep fighting, say those opposed to Republican tactics.
Many think the closed-door request by Republicans shows they are not interested in the truth, just political saber-rattling.
@kyledcheney All Comey’s lawyer has to do is to wait it out 4 weeks... then, the Dems can gladly accept Comey’s pub… https://t.co/PqYpG9nq7n— Moeknowsdiddley (@Moeknowsdiddley)1542904684.0
@kyledcheney I would insist on public, too. If Republicans really want transparency, why would they insist it be cl… https://t.co/d5uD32DX7V— Marty & mom (@Marty & mom)1542905655.0
@kyledcheney @Comey keep up the good fight against @GOP #Resist— Wendy Lou Who🌊 Impeach & Remove (@Wendy Lou Who🌊 Impeach & Remove)1542905855.0
@kyledcheney They’ve been playing games for 2 years by selectively showing the public things that allow them to cre… https://t.co/0j00a2dNFa— RMK (@RMK)1542914554.0
@kyledcheney Mr Comey's statement says all that needs to be said. This is a last gasp, political stunt on the part… https://t.co/5eCll5FNOJ— Richard M Dennis (@Richard M Dennis)1542909675.0
@kyledcheney GREAT! Glad to hear he will fight them. I hope Loretta Lynch does the same. Repuglikkkans only want… https://t.co/Z1pIz8hNbc— ₮ⱤɄ₥₱ ł₴ ₳ ₮Ɽ₳ł₮ØⱤ (@₮ⱤɄ₥₱ ł₴ ₳ ₮Ɽ₳ł₮ØⱤ)1542906682.0
President Donald Trump fired Comey in May 2017 because of the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, which Trump refers to as a "hoax" and "witch hunt."
Comey continues to be a favorite target of Trump, who has boasted that Comey and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are "best friends." Trump has long insisted without evidence that Comey and the FBI were part a conspiracy to sabotage his campaign.
It is widely accepted that Trump's 2016 victory was due in significant part to Comey's October 2016 announcement that the FBI was reopening its probe into Hillary Clinton's emails - which ended up fizzling into nothing, but the damage was done.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Trump wanted to have the Justice Department arrest Comey and Clinton, demonstrating an egregious attempt by the president to abuse his power.
As far as Lynch, who left office in January 2017, she has been vilified by Trump and his Republican allies for a brief encounter she had with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in June 2016.
Republicans, along with the president, have claimed without evidence that Lynch, who was still attorney general in 2016, and the former president, were in cahoots in a secret plot to derail Trump's presidential ambitions.
Like Comey and his attorney, Democrats have vowed to buck Republican attempts to further smear Comey and Lynch before their majority in the House ends in January.
"It is unfortunate that the outgoing Majority is resorting to these tactics," Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the ranking member on the Committee, said in a statement on Friday.
"Months ago, Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch both indicated their willingness to answer the Chairman's questions voluntarily," Nadler wrote. "My understanding is that the Republicans have had no contact with either the Director or the Attorney General since."