Most of the attention focused on Hillary Clinton’s unraveling email scandal has been on the big stuff. Like why Top Secret material protected by codeword classification ended up on her private server. Like why over 1300 classified emails were sent to Clinton via an email system that is not legally allowed to carry classified information. And like why she ordered an aid to strip security classification labels from a document and send it via an unsecure email system. And there has been interest in the revelation that the FBI has folded the email probe into a public corruption investigation of her business relationship with the Clinton Foundation, its employees and donors while she was secretary of state. But Hillary Clinton is in legal jeopardy from another source: her own public statements on the scandal.
Here you have the unique opportunity to watch a politician commit two federal felonies before your very eyes.
Here Hillary volunteers that she never sent or received information that was “classified at the time”.
Note that she is asked point blank about ever sending classified information via her private email system and she denies it.
So what, you say. Politicians lie all the time. Well, yes, but there are lies and there are lies. To set up where we are going, this is from Hillary Clinton being interviewed by Jake Tapper last weekend
or, to quote Marcel Marceau in Silent Movie:
Did you know that it is a crime to tell a lie to the federal government? Even if your lie is oral and not under oath? Even if you have received no warnings of any kind? Even if you are not trying to cheat the government out of money? Even if the government is not actually misled by your falsehood? Well it is.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 makes it a crime to: 1) knowingly and willfully; 2) make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation; 3) in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the United States. Your lie does not even have to be made directly to an employee of the national government as long as it is “within the jurisdiction” of the ever expanding federal bureaucracy. Though the falsehood must be “material” this requirement is met if the statement has the “natural tendency to influence or [is] capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body to which it is addressed.” United States v. Gaudin , 515 U.S. 506, 510 (1995). (In other words, it is not necessary to show that your particular lie ever really influenced anyone.) Although you must know that your statement is false at the time you make it in order to be guilty of this crime, you do not have to know that lying to the government is a crime or even that the matter you are lying about is “within the jurisdiction” of a government agency.
So how does this place Hillary in legal jeopardy? Well, she has to know that as the FBI is involved in investigating her email server that they will be watching and recording her comments on the subject. Therefore here statements can only be construed as a deliberate attempt to mislead or misdirect the investigators. As the article notes, you don’t have to be under oath and the government doesn’t have to react to the misleading statements. All they have to do is show that the statements were actually false and you have a violation.
Is this a realistic scenario? Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and current president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, thinks so. “This type of prosecution is most often used in investigations of securities and financial crimes,” he said. “But should Hillary Clinton’s statements be proven false, the same principle should be used in this case.”
Will the Obama Justice Department pursue this? Or will it simply be more evidence that Hillary Clinton is too big to jail?