Congress criminalizes lying to Congress under oath. The relevant statutes are 18 USC 1621 and 18 USC 1001. Section 1621 requires a person first, be making a statement under a sworn oath; second, that statement be “material” to the proceeding; third, the statement be false; and fourth, the statement be knowingly and willfully false. Section 1001 mirrors those elements, without the same tribunal prerequisites: it also requires the government prove a person willfully made a materially false statements. In either case, the primary focus is: first, a false statement; second, a false statement as material to the matter; third, the false statement be made knowingly and willfully. A statement is not false if it can be interpreted in a completely innocent manner. A statement is not material if it is not particularly relevant or pertain to the subject of the matter. Willfully remains a very high standard of proof in the criminal law, though less in perjury cases than in tax cases: it requires the person know they are lying.
Sadly, for Comey, Sessions has the smoking gun: Sessions’ own email sent and read by Comey, according to the Department of Justice statement, showing Comey in fact did know “the parameters of the Attorney General’s recusal” despite his repeated comments to the contrary to Senator Kamala Harris’ questions.
Dead. To. Rights. This really is a slam dunk case, or as close to it as imaginable. Maybe Comey will claim the Ruskies hacked his emails, and blame them instead?