Remember when Republicans held hearings in 1998 about Bill Clinton’s Christmas card list? We are getting into that territory again. Driven into madness by James Comey’s decision not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton over her private email server, Republicans promised last week to demand that the FBI investigate her for perjury instead. Today they made good on that promise. Let’s listen in:
The letter from U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) asserts that evidence collected by the FBI during its investigation involving Clinton’s email practices “appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony” and asks federal authorities to “investigate and determine whether to prosecute Secretary Clinton for violating statutes that prohibit perjury and false statements to Congress, or any other relevant statutes.”
…At a hearing last week, Chaffetz asked whether the FBI had specifically investigated Clinton’s previous statements, which he considered to be false. Comey said to open a criminal investigation, he would need a referral from Congress. “You’ll have one. You’ll have one in the next few hours,” said Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Of particular interest might be a statement Clinton made to the House Select Committee on Benghazi in October 2015 that “there was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received.” Comey has said that investigators found three such emails with the notation “(C)”—meaning confidential—contained within the text.
Got that? Out of 30,000+ emails, the FBI found a grand total of three that were marked confidential. But note the following:
- Confidential is the lowest grade of classification. It’s all but meaningless.
- Comey testified that all three emails failed to include the normal headers for classified information. Any experienced person reading them would have noticed that and probably missed the fact that a single classification mark was embedded somewhere in the text.
- The State Department says two of the three emails were wrongly marked anyway—which Hillary Clinton and her staff probably knew.
At most, then, we have the bare possibility that out of four years worth of emails, Clinton might—maybe—have failed to notice a proper classification mark on one of them. Why? Because it didn’t include the proper header to warn readers that classified information was somewhere in the body of the email.
This is what Republicans want the FBI to spend time investigating. It makes the Christmas card hearings look positively reasonable.