James Comey was under oath during last Thursday’s Senate Intelligence hearing.
Comey takes an oath.
Was he under oath when he submitted his written statement for the record the day before? The publicly released document contains no certification that the statement was made under the penalty of perjury.
Comey’s written statement was the foundation of the hearing. Most of the questions from the committee as well as the answers from Comey, alluded to it. And while there were a few exceptions, Comey rarely repeated what was in the document verbatim. In fact, the first thing he said after taking the oath was,
“I’ve submitted my statement for the record, so I’m not going to repeat it here this morning.”
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee did reference the document frequently, and Comey did respond to questions about it. He just usually responded without actually repeating the claims.
Did Comey take an oath prior to submitting his written statement? If not, did the oath taken the next day apply to the previously written statement? The statements from the document that Comey repeats verbatim were obviously repeated while under oath, but what about the other stuff? What about the claims made by Comey in the written statement that he didn’t mention, or only alluded to, during the hearing?
According to the Rules of Procedure of the Select Committee on Intelligence, testimony “may” be given under oath or affirmation.
Rule 8. Procedures Related to the Taking of Testimony
8.2. Oath or Affirmation. – At the direction of the Chairman or Vice Chairman, testimony of witnesses may be given under oath or affirmation which may be administered by any member of the Committee.
It sounds like not all testimony is given under oath. Is it possible that Comey’s written statement wasn’t?
Maybe there’s nothing here. I admittedly don’t fully understand the legalities involved with these hearings. That’s why I want to know. What happens if something Comey claimed in the written statement but did not repeat during the hearings ends up being false? Could he face perjury charges, or is he safe as long as he didn’t make the written statement under oath? If he’s safe, then that opens up a whole new set of questions……but this post is already speculative enough as it is.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has a good understanding of the legalities of these hearings in the comments.
Categories: quick hits