From The Hill
House Republicans are doubling down in their effort to bring perjury charges against Hillary Clinton over her testimony last year to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
GOP lawmakers have claimed that the Democratic presidential nominee broke the law by lying under oath about her private email setup during her marathon appearance in October.
Next month, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee plan to make the issue a central part of a hearing with senior officials from the FBI, a committee aide said on Thursday.
Legally, the GOP faces a tough case. Politically, however, raising the perjury allegations would be a way to keep the issue of Clinton’s truthfulness in the public eye throughout the fall as she battles Republican nominee Donald Trump for the White House.
Proving that someone committed perjury means overcoming a high hurdle: that the person knowingly told a falsehood under oath.
Convincing lawyers at the Department of Justice to take the case would also be difficult because prosecutors would have to prove that what the former secretary of State said during the 11-hour hearing was directly at odds with the truth.
“There is no case,” said Stephen Ryan, a former federal prosecutor and general counsel for the Democratic-run Senate Government Affairs Committee, bluntly.
“Even if you tried to step back from the politically-laden nature that this was the Democratic presidential nominee and you look at it, there’s no way the Department of Justice would touch a case like that.”
“There’s just no appeal to this case, other than the political appeal,” added Ryan, who said he is not involved in the presidential race.
Politically, hearings, letters and the other trappings of Washington could be useful for the GOP.
Polls have consistently shown that voters have doubts about Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, the Democratic candidate for the Senate in her state, even was tripped up this week. On three occasions, she sidestepped questions from CNN about whether she believed Clinton was honest before her campaign released a statement underlying her trust in the presidential nominee.
Even if the perjury allegations don’t save Trump, they could help down-ballot Republicans fighting against the current. Battleground states polls in Virginia and Colorado have shown Trump running behind Clinton by double-digits.
The GOP heads of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees outlined the potential case against Clinton in a joint letter this week to Washington’s top federal prosecutor.
In their six-page letter, Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Va.) and Jason Chaffetz (Utah) pointed to four instances during which the former secretary of State “appear[ed] to implicate” two criminal laws barring perjury and false statements.
“The evidence collected by the [FBI] during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as secretary of State appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony,” they told U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips.
The Justice Department decided last month not to press charges against Clinton for mishandling sensitive material after a yearlong FBI investigation.
Goodlatte and Chaffetz, in their letter, noted that the FBI discovered classification markings on three of the emails in Clinton’s inbox, seemingly disproving her assertion that “nothing was marked classified at the time I sent or received it.”
But in a letter to Capitol Hill this week, the FBI’s congressional liaison noted that those markings were incomplete, might have been made in error and were buried in a chain of emails.
The fact that Clinton received messages with those partial markings, Jason Herring wrote, “is not clear evidence of knowledge or intent.”
In another case, the GOP chairmen point to Clinton’s claim before Congress that her attorneys “went through every single email” while deciding which emails belonged in a federal storehouse and which could be deleted.
Comey later said that, in fact, her attorneys “did not individually read the content of all of her emails,” but instead looked at “header information” and “search terms” to separate the roughly 30,000 emails that Clinton claimed were work-related from the similarly sized batch of messages that she said were personal. Comey said that the FBI discovered “several thousand” allegedly personal emails that were actually related to her official duties.
Read Full Story At The Hill