Committee chair suggests videotaping Comey testimony to prevent leaks

Attorney says Comey will fight subpoena in court

Eric Thayer 2017 Getty Images

Former FBI director James Comey

(CNN) - House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy says videotaping former FBI Director James Comey in a closed-door testimony next month would prevent selective leaking and avoid a "carnival atmosphere."

"The remedy for leaks is not to have a public hearing where you are supposed to ask about 17 months worth of work in 5 minutes," Gowdy said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I think the remedy is to videotape the deposition."

Comey was issued a subpoena by the House Judiciary Committee to privately testify before Congress next month about FBI actions in the 2016 presidential campaign. An attorney for Comey said his client will fight the order in court.

"Got a subpoena from House Republicans," Comey tweeted Thursday. "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. Let's have a hearing and invite everyone to see."

Gowdy said Sunday he agrees with Comey that "leaks are counterproductive," and suggested videotaping the testimony as a means of combating the leaks.

"I hate leaks, I think they undercut the authenticity of the investigation," Gowdy said. "But the remedy is not to have a professional wrestling-type carnival atmosphere, which is what congressional public hearings have become."

Gowdy suggested the interview should be taped fully but then "scrub it for classified information ... and then release it to the public." He said it is ultimately House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte's decision, but if he were in charge, Gowdy said, he would make a "formal offer" to Comey.

Goodlatte also subpoenaed former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

"While the authority for congressional subpoenas is broad, it does not cover the right to misuse closed hearings as a political stunt to promote political as opposed to legislative agendas," said David Kelley, an attorney for Comey, last week.

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