Comey makes deal over House subpoena, backs off legal fight

Former FBI director James Comey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washingt

"Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don't believe in", Comey tweeted yesterday after withdrawing his legal challenge in federal court.

As part of a deal with legislators, Comey has been told that he is free to speak about the questioning afterward and that a transcript would be released 24 hours after he testifies, his attorney, David Kelley, said. "This is the closest I can get to public testimony", Comey tweeted.

He has asked the judge to issue an emergency order to pause the congressional proceedings and to quash the subpoena.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, issued a statement Sunday that confirmed the plan.

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Comey insisted he would only testify in public, not behind closed doors.

Republican lawmakers want one more opportunity before handing control of the House to Democrats to push both Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch on their handling of the FBI's investigation into former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and their separate probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. "Mr. Comey should agree to these terms and see that we have the same objective, which is to find the truth and seek transparency".

Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies campaign collusion, calling the Mueller investigation a political witch hunt.

"That, of course, remains to be seen, it hasn't happened yet, but the counsel for the House and the counsel for Mr. Comey have been working cooperatively and I expect that'll happen", he added. He also predicted Comey would be making the rounds on television news and discussing his testimony in detail.

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Under the agreement, Comey will withdraw his legal motion and the committee will withdraw its subpoena, according to the report.

He sued quash the subpoena, expressing his wariness of "selective leaking" being used to paint a distorted partisan picture of his testimony.

After an initial hearing on the challenge Friday, U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden did not rule but indicated he was unlikely to grant Comey's motion. In the new Congress, Democrats take the majority in the House and Representative Jerrold Nadler of NY is likely to be the new chairman.

Comey has received a subpoena from the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee before.

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