The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas for former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify about investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Comey and Lynch have been ordered to appear before the House Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform committees on December 3 and 4. They have been ordered to participate in closed-door interviews about how federal law enforcement officials handled the two investigations.
The subpoenas, issued Wednesday but made public Thursday, made good on threats by Republican Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte earlier in the week.
Both Comey and Lynch have previously testified before congressional panels investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election campaign and have expressed willingness to appear before the two committees.
Comey, though, has raised objections to the format of the interview and suggested in a Thanksgiving Day tweet he may not appear if the interview is not conducted in a public setting.
“I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a ‘closed door’ thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion.” Comey added: “Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.”
Republican lawmakers have been investigating the decision-making by the FBI and the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017. They maintain that anti-Trump bias among senior officials resulted in the FBI focusing more on its probe into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia and less on its investigation into Democratic candidate Clinton’s private email server.
Trump has repeatedly called the Russia probe a “witch hunt” and has accused Comey and his close colleagues of being corrupt.
Democrats complain Republicans are simply trying to fuel a conspiracy theory to protect Trump from the ongoing Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Democrats say they will scrutinize Trump’s attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department when they assume control of the House in January. They have also urged their Republican counterparts to shield Mueller from any attempts by Trump or his newly-appointed acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, to impede the investigation.