FBI agents interrogated Hillary Rodham Clinton last Saturday — but not under oath.
This was one of several revelations to emerge from FBI Director James Comey’s four hour and 40-minute appearance yesterday before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Comey began his testimony by swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God.
The FBI did not administer such an oath before questioning Clinton, the target of a year-long criminal investigation, nor was the session recorded.
“Well, that’s a problem,” said Representative John Mica (R., Florida), as he quizzed Comey.
This would be bad enough if she were a Little Sister of the Poor. But to take a lengthy unsworn statement from someone with Clinton’s well-document allergy to the truth seems, to be generous, less than rigorous.
“This is really a question of good practice. I don’t think there is anything in the law that requires testimony under oath or a transcript at this point,” former Justice Department official John Yoo tells me. “But any agent with good sense would have recorded it. Just compare it to the interview of Bill Clinton by the Whitewater independent counsel. It was done under oath and was recorded on video. It is amazing that Comey didn’t follow that example in a case of such high sensitivity.”
Yoo, a law professor at University of California Berkeley, adds, “Now it is up to Congress to put Hillary Clinton under oath to testify before the cameras.”
Comey admitted that he was absent during Clinton’s sit down with “five or six” of his agents. Perhaps Comey had something more important to do at that time.
In response to questions from Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), Comey confirmed that Clinton made classified materials accessible to people who lacked the security clearance to see them. This included, according to Comey, “more than two and fewer than ten” people who maintained or managed Clinton’s servers and devices.
Comey also stated that Clinton’s lawyers did not merely delete her “personal” e-mails from her servers, the way Americans routinely erase junk e-mails. Rather they engaged in the digital equivalent of extracting impacted wisdom teeth.
As Comey explained in great depth on Tuesday, Clinton’s attorneys “deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.”
Committee Democrats deployed the “everyone does it” argument, claiming that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had classified e-mails on his private AOL e-mail account (although he did not have a private server and used his government e-mail system, which Clinton never did.)
Democrats had a point — to a point.
The State Department Inspector General reported last month that the number of classified e-mails discovered in Powell’s account added up to two.
Meanwhile, as Comey confirmed in his statement on Tuesday and alluded to on Thursday, the classified e-mails on Clinton’s servers and devices totaled 2,113.