Public Comment

Oaths, Law and Consequences

Bruce Joffe
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:43:00 PM

What consequences does a person face if he/she lies during sworn testimony to the Senate? Do the consequences for perjury apply to government officials, including the chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Jeff Sessions? During his confirmation hearing, under oath, he said he had no contact with Russian officials during Trump's campaign, to which he was an advisor. That was untrue. Subsequently, Sessions tried to minimize his perjury by saying he hadn't met with Russians as Trump's representative. Does subsequent redefining of untrue statements absolve the perjurer from culpability? If not, what is the Senate doing to seek just consequences? If Sessions can lie to the Senate under oath without consequence, then anyone's oath to tell the truth becomes a meaningless gesture.

Similarly, ex-National-Security-Advisor Michael Flynn broke the law when he failed to disclose his lobbyist arrangement for the Government of Turkey while also serving in an official U.S. government position. After this violation was uncovered, he belatedly submitted a disclosure form. Does post-factual disclosure absolve Flynn of criminal culpability? If so, then no one would be required to follow the law unless they were caught. If not, what is being done to bring Flynn to justice and consequence?