Hillary Clinton did not swear an oath to tell the truth before meeting with the FBI for three and a half hours last weekend, and the interview was not recorded, FBI Director James Comey told House lawmakers on Thursday.
The lack of a sworn oath does not remove the possibility of criminal penalties against Clinton if she lied to the FBI, though he said he had “no basis to conclude” that she was untruthful.
“Still a crime to lie to us,” Comey told the House Oversight Committee.
FBI policy is not to record interviews as part of its investigations.
Yet the revelations will nonetheless raise questions among Republicans, who have been skeptical of the FBI’s investigation and have demanded to see the transcript of the former secretary of State’s interview in downtown Washington on Saturday.
“Well, that’s a problem,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) told Comey when the FBI chief explained the terms of the interview.
“It’s pretty clear … that the American people would like to see what Hillary Clinton said to the FBI,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Wednesday, a day before Comey’s appearance before House lawmakers.
Under FBI policy — and to the dismay of civil libertarians and staunch transparency advocates — the bureau does not conduct electronic recordings of interviews.
“Under the current policy, agents may not electronically record confessions or interviews, openly or surreptitiously” except in rare circumstances, the bureau said in a 2006 memo.
The FBI did, however, complete a federal form summarizing the interview, known as an FD-302, Comey said.
Mica recommended that a copy of that summary be provided to the Oversight Committee.
Comey himself was not among the “five or six” agents who interviewed Clinton, he testified on Thursday. But he assured lawmakers that Clinton told the truth throughout the session.
“I don’t think the agents assessed she was evasive,” he added.