|The dimwitted Dems in Congress aren't smart enough to outfox Bill Barr.|
Posted by: TEEBONE ® |
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Did the Attorney General Commit a Crime by Lying to Congress?
Yesterday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress about Robert Mueller's objections to his summary of the special counsel's report. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec called that allegation "reckless, irresponsible, and false."
Kupec did not elaborate on her reasoning, probably because the explanation would not reflect well on Barr's candor and honesty. She is nevertheless right to question Pelosi's claim.
"The attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States," Pelosi said. "That's a crime."
Not quite. 18 USC 1621 makes it a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, for someone to lie under oath. He is guilty if he "willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true." But the Supreme Court has held that the perjury statute does not apply to a statement that "is literally true but not responsive to the question asked and arguably misleading by negative implication."
Another possibly relevant law, 18 USC 1001, makes it a felony, also punishable by up to five years in prison, to "knowingly and willfully" make "any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation" in congressional testimony. A statement can be misleading without being knowingly and materially false.
Keeping those qualifications in mind, let's consider the testimony Pelosi thinks makes Barr guilty of a felony. When Barr testified before a House appropriations subcommittee on April 9, Rep. Charlie Crist (D–Fla.) asked him about an April 3 New York Times story that said members of Mueller's team were unhappy with Barr's March 24 summary of their findings:
It has since emerged that Mueller himself, on three occasions in late March (twice in letters and once on the telephone) had told Barr his summary "did not fully capture
Later in the hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D–R.I.) called Barr's explanation "masterful hairsplitting," which is not necessarily the same thing as a lying. What Barr told Crist was not helpful, candid, or forthcoming, and it created the misleading impression that Barr was "not aware of concerns," as Leahy put it. But Barr never actually said that.
The perjury statute, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, pretty clearly does not apply to Barr's April 9 testimony. Whether 18 USC 1001 applies is a closer call. But if we give Barr the benefit of the doubt, which is what he would get if he were actually prosecuted for lying to Congress, his "masterful hairsplitting" seems like enough to prevent a conviction.
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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