Ex-FBI head Comey drops challenge to U.S. House panel subpoena

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday withdrew a legal challenge that sought to quash a congressional subpoena compelling him to testify in secret about the bureau's decisions on investigations ahead of the 2016 presidential election, his lawyer said.

Comey agreed to sit down for a closed-door deposition on Friday. Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee pledged to provide Comey with a full transcript within 24 hours of his testimony, and he will be permitted to "make any or all of that transcript public," Comey's lawyer David Kelley told Reuters in a statement.

Comey and the Republican lawmakers reached the new agreement the day before lawyers were to appear at a court hearing. A judge had been set to issue a ruling on Comey's request to quash the subpoena and halt congressional proceedings - a request that has never previously been granted by a judge in the United States.

SEE ALSO: Robert Mueller's Russia probe 'is going to be devastating' for President Trump, Alan Dershowitz says

At the heart of the case is whether the panel should be able to force Comey to testify in secret about the FBI's investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.

The Republican-led inquiry has been lambasted by Democrats as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

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

Kelley argued in court on Friday that Republicans are violating U.S. House rules by not holding a public hearing where all committee members can ask questions. Kelley accused lawmakers of pushing for a closed hearing so they can selectively leak portions of Comey's testimony to undermine Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election.

33 PHOTOS
Trump's tweets about the Mueller Russia probe
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Trump's tweets about the Mueller Russia probe
So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Col… https://t.co/T2n7SAWgJp
There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap). What there i… https://t.co/WU8JFuWLJi
House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia. As I have bee… https://t.co/n4809kuVx3
Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinate… https://t.co/3erasoPL4N
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion an… https://t.co/GPYj4JbKgN
It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA
“Russians had no compromising information on Donald Trump” @FoxNews Of course not, because there is none, and neve… https://t.co/R9sniNq1ar
Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the… https://t.co/wEVP4iGN6n
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was base… https://t.co/oMCKEA7WmJ
The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in… https://t.co/W32TtSNOrw
A must watch: Legal Scholar Alan Dershowitz was just on @foxandfriends talking of what is going on with respect to… https://t.co/EZ7cdgtUUo
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
A complete Witch Hunt!
The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination… https://t.co/MMfLEunjG6
The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems… https://t.co/j7rc1QKCLw
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classif… https://t.co/YfMYBrTkza
As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!
...case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing "the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan..." Witch Hunt!
The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,..
Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!
When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
Despite the phony Witch Hunt going on in America, the economic & jobs numbers are great. Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!
A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!
Is this Phony Witch Hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the Mid-Term Elections, which is what… https://t.co/7LtsbGyV80
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was base… https://t.co/oMCKEA7WmJ
Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democr… https://t.co/eA1AtTPv49
“Special Council is told to find crimes, whether a crime exists or not. I was opposed to the selection of Mueller t… https://t.co/KYsOPqiVBG
I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller (… https://t.co/yjSuYhmzJb
Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? An… https://t.co/wKNAVhWJcz
If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him.… https://t.co/wi7FDNjqK7
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But Thomas Hungar, a lawyer for the U.S. House of Representatives, said a 1975 Supreme Court case known as Eastland v. U.S. Servicemen's Fund made it clear that the Speech or Debate Clause in the U.S. Constitution provides for complete immunity for the issuance of such subpoenas.

That pivotal case was not cited in the legal briefs submitted by Comey's attorney, prompting him to ask the judge for an opportunity to respond on Sunday. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Grant McCool)

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