Napolitano: Administration Lies on Benghazi Not 'Against the Law'

Thursday, 01 May 2014 03:58 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The newly released emails that give light to the background of the White House explanation about the 2012 Benghazi bombing may show a "tremendous deception," but no laws were broken, Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday.

What may have been a violation would be if White House officials communicated with people in the campaign office of President Barack Obama, Napolitano explained. If that took place, he said it would be a violation of the Hatch Act and would be a felony.

Following the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House explained the bombing was the result of a spontaneous reaction to a video.

Napolitano told Fox News' "Happening Now" that the narrative showed a "tremendous deception that the government engaged in, [telling] outright lies to mislead the American public to make the president look good." However, he said the action wasn't "against the law."

An email obtained by government watchdog group Judicial Watch released Tuesday indicated an exchange between White House communications adviser Ben Rhodes to several government officials.

Rhodes wrote that statements about the Benghazi attack should "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

David Plouffe, campaign manager for President Obama in 2008, was one of the officials who received the email. Napolitano explained Plouffe was "working in the White House" at the time.

Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, said it would be a violation of the Hatch Act if Plouffe shared the information with the president's 2012 re-election campaign.

"(Plouffe) can't get involved in politics. If he took that email and sent it to the campaign people, and if Ben Rhodes sent it to David Plouffe, knowing and expecting he would send it to the campaign people, there is enough there to investigate for a violation of the Hatch Act, which is a felony — meaning more than a year in jail for doing it," Napolitano explained.

The Hatch Act is a federal statute that prohibits federal workers from engaging in politics on the job that would influence, interfere, or affect the results of an election.

"The president's political team cannot have an office in the West Wing. They can't even go to the West Wing. Flip side of that is the president's people who work for the White House in the West Wing cannot go to the president's political office. They cannot communicate with the president's political office," he said.

Napolitano said he did not expect Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the emails. He suggested lawmakers hire an "attack dog" to question people involved under oath.

"If they lie, you have perjury. If they don't lie and tell the truth, we'll learn these ugly truths," he said.

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