WASHINGTON – Congress asked the Justice Department Wednesday to investigate whether Roger Clemens lied under oath to a House committee reviewing steroid use in baseball.
The chairman and ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting a perjury probe into Clemens' sworn depositions.
Clemens testified before the committee Feb. 13 about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. The New York Yankees pitcher told the committee he never used performance-enhancing drugs. His former trainer Brian McNamee told the committee he injected Clemens more than 20 times over his career.
"We believe that his testimony in a sworn deposition on Feb. 5, 2008, and at a hearing on Feb. 13, 2008, that he never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone, warrants further investigation," committee chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis wrote. "That testimony is directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of Brian McNamee, who testified that he personally injected Mr. Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.
"Mr. Clemens's testimony is also contradicted by the sworn deposition testimony and affidavit submitted to the committee by Andrew Pettitte, a former teammate of Mr. Clemens, whose testimony and affidavit reported that Mr. Clemens had admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone."
The committee's request is "unwarranted," said Rusty Hardin, Clemens' attorney.
"Roger will continue to fight these false allegations with every ounce of strength he has," Hardin said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told FOX News that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner should have never testified before the House Oversight Committee.
"I think Clemens would have been better off not coming before the committee," Cummings said. "He was insistent about coming forward. He came in. He very adamant."
Cummings is a member of the oversight panel and one of the most vigorous questioners at the hearing two weeks ago. At the hearing, Cummings told Clemens he wanted to believe him, but couldn't. He also reminded Clemens repeatedly that he was under oath.
"I wanted him to understand the significance of what he was doing," Cummings said. "I asked him at least five times if he knew he was under oath."
Waxman said he was considering just issuing a written report and not hearing from Clemens after the panel collected depositions from Clemens, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, McNamee and others. However, Clemens asserted to Waxman he wanted to appear in the public forum.
Still, Waxman told FOX that he may have made a perjury referral to the Justice Department based solely on Clemens' deposition.
"We didn't think Roger Clemens was telling the truth," he said.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig joined commissioners of the NBA, NFL and NHL at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce committee today. That panel was also addressed performance enhancing drugs in sports.
Selig left Capitol Hill without commenting on the Clemens' referral.
Meantime, at the hearing, subcommittee chairman Bobby Rush, D-Ill., noted that he invited Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment to testify. McMahon refused to appear.
Rush told the panel that he was "especially disappointed" in McMahon not appearing.
"Steroid abuse is probably worse in professional wrestling than any other sport," said Rush."We hope he (McMahon) will be a part of the solution, not part of the problem."
Rush added that the committee has "options" on how to pursue McMahon. However, an Energy and Commerce Committee spokeswoman says the panel is not yet ready to issue a subpoena.
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.