13:20 GMT11 April 2021
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    The top lawyer for the US House of Representatives slammed former FBI James Comey’s efforts to block a congressional subpoena on Friday as unprecedented in the “history of the republic.”

    "No federal district court in the history of the republic has granted the type of relief Mr. Comey seeks here," said Thomas Hungar, the House's general counsel, at a hearing before Judge Trevor McFadden over Comey's attempt to block the subpoena.

    Comey filed suit earlier in the week to block the subpoena, which would force him to provide closed-door testimony to the House committees in their investigation into FBI activities in 2016 and 2017, Politico reports.

    Comey's attorneys argue that the subpoena is an attempt to harass him and discredit the special counsel's investigation into whether there was collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

    The former FBI director offered to testify publicly, but Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) rejected the request.

    Comey's lawyer argues that representatives sympathetic to the president would selectively leak damaging and distorted bits of the hearing if his client were forced to testify privately.

    Goodlatte promised to release the transcript of Comey's testimony shortly after the hearing. 

    Hungar argued that Comey has the right to speak publicly and correct the record should his statements be misconstrued.

    David Kelley, Comey's lawyer, acknowledged that granting Comey's request would be unprecedented; courts have not intervened in the past when witnesses have sought to circumvent congressional subpoenas. Kelley encouraged the judge to do so because of the gravity of the case, telling McFadden, "This is your opportunity to make some law."

    Judge McFadden, who was appointed by US President Donald Trump, did not make a decision on Friday, offering Comey's lawyers the weekend to rebut the government's argument. McFadden said that he'll make a ruling on Monday.

    Comey is expected to testify on Tuesday. He may also be able to avoid it on a technicality, however, since he was originally scheduled to testify on Monday, and Goodlatte didn't follow the proper procedures with the amended subpoena, according to Kelley.


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    testimony, subpoena, Russiagate, FBI, James Comey, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), James Comey
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