Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado had an extremely revealing exchange with FBI Director James Comey today. Specifically, Rep. Buck asked about Hillary Clinton’s “intent” an the relevance of it. To his, and presumably everyone else’s, surprise, Director Comey admits the FBI is interpreting statute differently than Congress wrote it, by imputing “willingly” into the standard of intent.
“There are various levels of intent in the criminal law,” says Congressman Buck, and he then explains that in Title 18, most of the laws have the words “knowingly and willfully” and that this is the typical standard used. He then points out that others have a lower standard. And finally, he points out that in the case of what applies to Secretary Clinton’s situation, the word “willfully” does not appear, but that the FBI is imputing it.
REP. KEN BUCK: Congress specifically omitted the word willfully from this statute, and yet you are implying the word willfully in the statute, is that fair?
DIR. JAMES COMEY: That’s fair.
Buck: So, what the statute does say is “knowingly remove such materials without authority.” Is it fair that she knew she didn’t have the authority to have this server in the basement?
Comey: Yes, that’s true.
Buck: And she knew that she was receiving materials, classified information, in the emails that she received on her Blackberry and other devices?
Comey: I, I can’t answer … I’m hesitating as a prosecutor because it’s always, to what level of proof? I do not believe there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that she knew she was receiving classified information in violation of the requirements. There’s evidence of that …
Buck: But that’s not my question. My question, in fairness is, did she know she was receiving information on the servers at her location?
Comey: Oh, I’m sorry. Of course, yes. She knew she was using her email system.
Buck: And as Secretary of State, she also knew that she would be receiving classified information?
Comey: Yes, in general.
Now, I’m just a simple caveman, but it seems to me that Director Comey’s argument is that he cannot prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Hillary Clinton was aware that a Secretary of State would receive classified information by email, and therefore did not “willfully” disregard the law, which is a requirement that the FBI is implying into the text in the first place.
If you want to ask Congressman Buck more about this or any other topic in person, join him and speak with him at the RedState Gathering, August 12 to 14 in Colorado Springs, CO, where he’ll be speaking on “A Conservative Future for America.” Don’t miss out on your chance to mix and interact with the politicians, policy-makers, and thought leaders whose decisions influence all our daily lives.