Just what did Hillary Clinton tell FBI investigators shortly before James Comey recommended no action on the e-mail scandal? House Oversight committee members may soon find out. The FBI will allow them access to the “302,” the post-interview report form filled out by its agents, Fox’s Catherine Herridge reported earlier this morning (via Cortney O’Brien):
Some of the FBI files on the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server exclusively for government business while serving as secretary of state could be given to a House oversight committee as early as this week, a congressional source confirmed with Fox News on Sunday. …
Congressional investigators — led by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah — have been aggressively seeking the entire file, including a summary of Clinton’s interview, known as a “302.”
However, the document is considered highly classified, because Clinton’s FBI session included questions on the 22 top secret emails that are too damaging to national security to make public.
Note that, it is standard for FBI interviews not to be recorded, so there is no transcript, but agents take extensive notes and they form the basis for the written report known as the “302.”
For some reason, this recalls the proverb Be careful what you wish for — you might get it. James Comey’s statement drove rhetorical Mack trucks through Hillary Clinton’s narratives on the e-mail scandal, especially on the personal transmission of highly classified information as well as the convenience argument, but he did claim in later Congressional testimony that Hillary didn’t lie to investigators. If the 302s substantiate that, then this isn’t terribly likely to hurt Hillary for longer than the news cycles in which snippets of the report contradict her current narrative.
It’s important to remember that the FBI does not routinely record their interrogations, a strange anomaly from otherwise-standard operating procedure in law enforcement. Their agents instead commit the interrogations to notes and file them on the 302s. We’re not likely to see transcripts or even direct quotes from Hillary as a result. Without that, there will be plenty of wiggle room for Hillary even if the 302s don’t necessarily vindicate Comey’s description of her cooperation. The biggest risk Hillary has at the moment is that Oversight will get the whole file — something that the FBI is apparently resisting.
Newt Gingrich thinks there’s gold in them thar forms:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 15, 2016
Gingrich questions why she wasn’t under oath during the interview. That’s because it’s not a judicial proceeding, such as a deposition or a hearing, where charges of perjury would result. Lying on material points to the FBI in a criminal investigation results in obstruction of justice charges, with or without an oath; just ask Scooter Libby. Had they caught her in a material lie and she did not promptly request to correct the record with the truth, Hillary would have been liable for prosecution of a felony.
Now, if the 302s show that happened, then both Hillary and Comey will be in a lot of hot water. But does anyone honestly believe that Comey would have publicly recommended a stand-down if that was the case? Those 302s will line up behind Comey’s position. Bet on it.
Update: I edited the headline a bit for more accuracy on sourcing.