There is growing acceptance that federal officials feel they are above the law; two sets of legal principles that apply; one exclusive set for them, and another set for everyone else.
Though it might seem rather stunning for any federal official to make such an admission in public, that’s exactly what happened today. Lawyers representing former FBI Director James Comey made exactly that argument. Recognizing Mr. Comey had no legal basis to avoid a congressional subpoena, Comey’s lawyers actually said:
“Here’s your opportunity, judge, to make some law.” (link)
Former FBI chief James Comey is trying to avoid being deposed by a joint committee in congress for his conduct in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 DOJ/FBI operations against candidate Donald Trump. Today congressional lawyers responded to Comey’s lawsuit attempting to avoid questioning (full pdf below).
The statement from lawyers representing James Comey was made during a hearing in front of federal Judge Trevor McFadden. They are asking the judge to create laws from the bench.
Think about this.
These are lawyers for the former United States FBI Director asking a federal judge to ignore all current law and create law, a special law, specifically to the benefit of their client.
Now, accepting that James Comey is asking a federal judge to ignore the law, ask yourself what James Comey was likely doing as the FBI Director.
WASHINGTON DC – Attorneys for former FBI Director James Comey and the US House of Representatives fought in court Friday afternoon over whether Comey must testify to Congress in a private hearing next week.
While Comey technically seeks to pause or kill the subpoena, he is using the case to air his accusation that members of the Republican-led House and Senate selectively leak details for their own benefit when they call witnesses to testify in private.
Attorneys for the House called Comey’s request “so extraordinary and frivolous that, as far as undersigned counsel is aware, no district court in the history of the Republic has ever granted such a request.”
Judge Trevor McFadden said at the hearing that he hoped to rule Monday morning after meeting again with both legal teams.
The meat of Friday’s dispute was how each side characterizes Comey’s congressional subpoena. Comey’s team says Congress is in violation of its own rules by not conducting its fact-finding hearing in public. The hearing won’t require that level of secrecy because no sensitive law enforcement information is expected to be discussed, Comey’s team said.
The House general counsel countered that because Comey’s testimony would be a deposition with staff, a public session isn’t required.
McFadden asked whether Comey could release a transcript of his testimony to get the full picture before the public. But Comey’s lawyers said that would take too much time, allowing leaks of the information before Comey could release his full testimony.
When McFadden asked Comey’s attorney whether he agreed with the House that a judge has never limited Congress in this way before, the lawyer David Kelley responded, “Here’s your opportunity, Judge.” (read more)
Here’s the House Counsel filing: