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Judicial Watch Takes on Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

Judicial Watch has had remarkable success in using the court process to obtain answers on the burgeoning Hillary Clinton email scandal, including from the former Secretary of State Hillary herself.

Events have moved quickly. First, a JW Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit forced Clinton to do what no other congressional committee, FBI, or Justice Department investigation has been able to do – submit information, under penalty of perjury, about her email system. The U.S. State Department submitted to a federal court a sworn declaration from Clinton regarding federal records on her controversial email system. The declaration states:

I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct:

While I do not know what information may be “responsive” for purposes of this law suit, I have directed that all my e-mails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records to be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.

As a result of my directive, approximately 55,000 pages of these emails were produced to the Department on December 5, 2014.

Cheryl Mills did not have an account on clintonemail.com. Huma Abedin did have such an account which was used at times for government business.

The document is signed by “Hillary Rodham Clinton.” The State Department was ordered by US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan on July 31 to request that Clinton and her top aides confirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have produced all government records in their possession and to return any other government records immediately. The court wanted State to ask Clinton and her top aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills to describe their use of Clinton’s email server to conduct government business. The State Department produced the August 5 letter it sent to Clinton, which included a copy of Judge Sullivan’s July 31 minute order:

As agreed by the parties at the July 31, 2015 status hearing, the Government shall produce a copy of the letters sent by the State Department to Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Ms. Huma Abedin and Ms. Cheryl Mills regarding the collection of government records in their possession. These communications shall be posted on the docket forthwith. The Government has also agreed to share with Plaintiff’s counsel the responses sent by Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills. These communications shall also be posted on the docket forthwith. In addition, as related to Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests in this case, the Government is HEREBY ORDERED to: (1) identify any and all servers, accounts, hard drives, or other devices currently in the possession or control of the State Department or otherwise that may contain responsive information; (2) request that the above named individuals confirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have produced all responsive information that was or is in their possession as a result of their employment at the State Department. If all such information has not yet been produced, the Government shall request the above named individuals produce the information forthwith; and (3) request that the above named individuals describe, under penalty of perjury, the extent to which Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills used Mrs. Clinton’s email server to conduct official government business. The Government shall inform the Court of the status of its compliance with this Order no later than August 7, 2015, including any response received from Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on July 31, 2015.

You don’t need to be a legal expert to see that Clinton’s declaration fails to comply with both Judge Sullivan’s court order and the State Department’s request. Clinton does not certify she turned over all federal records and provides no information on the extent that Abedin and Mills used her server.

Just to review, it was over four months ago, on March 2, 2015, that The New York Times reported then-Secretary Clinton used at least one non-“state.gov” email account to conduct official government business during her entire tenure as the secretary of state. It also was reported that Clinton stored these records on a non-U.S. government issued server at her home in Chappaqua, New York.

It is clear now that Clinton doesn’t want to tell the whole truth about her email system. The court will very likely have more questions for her. Clinton’s declaration raises more questions than it answers and shows contempt for the court.

But this isn’t the only news.

Judge Sullivan issued an order late last Friday to the State Department explicitly instructing that all federal documents relating to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills be preserved:

In view of [20] the Government’s status report, the Court hereby directs the Government to request that Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Ms. Huma Abedin, and Ms. Cheryl Mills i) not delete any federal documents, electronic or otherwise, in their possession or control, and ii) provide appropriate assurances to the Government that the above-named individuals will not delete any such documents. The Government shall inform the Court of the status of its compliance with this Order no later than August 12, 2015, including a copy of any assurances provided by Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills that they will not delete any federal documents in their possession or control. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on August 7, 2015.

The order was issued a little over an hour after Judicial Watch lawyers filed an urgent response informing Judge Sullivan of a plan to destroy federal records as reported by State to the court.

Let’s not forget these developments come in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about Hillary Clinton’s email records.

As if this wasn’t enough, there were even more major court and legal developments.

The State Department filed correspondence in response to Judge Sullivan’s July 31 order requiring the State Department to report on his directive to take steps to ensure that Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Abedin, and Clinton aide Cheryl Mills did not destroy government records. The filing included a letter from Hillary Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall that read in part:

[W]e have voluntarily provided to the Department of Justice on August 6, 2015, the .pst file containing electronic copies of the 55,000 pages of emails on a thumb drive (along with two copies), which had been securely stored in my possession, after receiving from the Department of Justice an assurance that it would maintain this file in an appropriately secure manner and the Department’s opinion that such maintenance would satisfy any preservation obligations I am under.  Similarly, Platte River Networks is today providing to the Department of Justice the server and related equipment on which emails to and from Secretary Clinton’s clintonemail.com were stored from 2009 to 2013 and which PRN took possession of in 2013.  This is following the Department of Justice’s assurances to us and counsel for PRN that it would maintain the server equipment in an appropriately secure manner.  The Department also gave counsel its opinion that such maintenance would satisfy any preservation obligations we have.

This Clinton lawyer’s letter in response to the court’s orders shows Clinton continues to withhold material information from the court.  Reports seem to confirm that Clinton is still withholding emails from the FBI and Justice Department.

In response, the court acted quickly with yet another court order. The order states:

On August 7, 2015, the State Department indicated that it would, by August 14, 2015, provide additional information about all servers, accounts, hard drives, or other devices in the Department’s possession or control that may contain information responsive to Plaintiff’s Freedom of Information Act request in this case. The State Department shall file a status report with such relevant information no later than 12:00 p.m. on August 14, 2015. Further, in light of the State Department’s August 12, 2015 status report, the August 14, 2015 report shall indicate the extent to which the State Department is working with other government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, to search Mrs. Clinton’s private email server for information relevant to this lawsuit. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on August 13, 2015.

The State Department recently filed its response. We issued a statement:

The State Department filing is woefully deficient, misleading, and contemptuous of the court’s orders for complete disclosure about Mrs. Clinton’s email system and the systems of Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills.  The court, Judicial Watch and the American people are no closer to learning where all of the emails of Hillary and her top aides can be found. The State Department refused to answer questions about what is even in its possession. Now we know that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have joined hands in this email scandal.  The State Department relies on the half-baked, vague declaration by Hillary Clinton and a misleading letter by her lawyer to try to avoid its obligations to produce records under the Freedom of Information Act.  It is now clear that Mrs. Clinton is withholding servers and emails from the FBI and Justice Department, and Judge Sullivan is being misled to conclude otherwise.  We will seek appropriate relief from the court.

I think it is fair to conclude that the courts are expecting quick action on Clinton’s email system and that the Obama administration will learn that the courts will not allow it to bury her emails.

I have saved the best for last. Hillary Clinton, under incredible pressure, erupted, lost control, and attacked Judicial Watch for her email scandal. Her attack on the grassroots organization occurred during an interview on Univision. I responded on behalf of Judicial Watch with the following statement:

Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Judicial Watch for its success in suing for her State Department records under the Freedom of Information Act will not deter us from our nonpartisan work. Hillary Clinton has a nasty record of attacking and threatening those who try to hold her accountable to the law. It was Hillary Clinton who chose to conduct official government business on a separate email system. It was this decision by Hillary Clinton that placed classified information and the nation’s security at risk. In addition, it prevented government records from being properly searched as required by law in response to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits. A federal judge has led the way in requesting answers from her under penalty of perjury. Mrs. Clinton has a problem with the truth and obeying the law – and that is why a federal judge has requested information from Mrs. Clinton, the State Department, and her closest advisors. Blaming Judicial Watch for the email mess she made is pathetic.

Sure enough, this attack was a deflection from the truth that she was forced to turn over her “server” and some emails to the FBI and Justice Department almost at the same time she was blaming Judicial Watch for her problems.

Hillary Clinton criticizes Judicial Watch because it is a truth-teller, persistent, and effective.

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