Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform turned in a strong performance on Thursday as they dismantled FBI director James Comey’s arguments against prosecuting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It was a fine moment for committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) — and perhaps the finest moment ever for Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who has come in for criticism here and elsewhere for mishandling the media in the Benghazi investigation.
Crucially, Chaffetz established at the outset that Clinton had lied to Gowdy and the House Select Committee on Benghazi in October 2015, and revealed that the House intended to refer her to the Department of Justice for investigation for perjury.
Chaffetz came back later and forced Comey to admit that Clinton had handed classified material to people, including her own personal lawyers, who lacked the requisite security clearance to read, handle or possess it.
But the most important moment was when Gowdy demolished Comey’s claim that Clinton lacked the “intent” to mis-handle classified information. He showed, convincingly, that there was ample circumstantial evidence of intent, and that Comey was making up a new legal standard.
On Wednesday evening, Breitbart News presented a list of 13 questions that the committee had to ask Comey to get to the truth. The committee asked 11 of the 13 questions.
The only two they left out were about Comey’s own personal record as a prosecutor — which they may have left out for reasons of decorum — and about whether Hillary Clinton herself was being treated unfairly, after Comey had basically presented evidence of her guilt that she will not have a chance to refute formally.
The question now is what the committee will do to follow up. Will it pursue the perjury investigation vigorously? Will the Department of Justice continue its reported investigation into the Clinton Foundation?
This case is a long way from “closed.”