The Department of Justice does not appear to see any problem with news that Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik sent a presidential campaign a “heads up” on upcoming federal government actions through a private email address.
Kadzik (pictured), according to an email from May 2015, alerted Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to a development in a FOIA case concerning the former Secretary of State’s private email server. Kadzik gave Podesta a potential timeline for the State Department to post work emails — which Clinton sent and received over an unsecure, homebrew email server — that she turned over years after leaving her position as Secretary of State. Kadzik apparently sent this message through a Gmail account and not his .gov address.
Shortly after seeing this email, Breitbart News contacted the DoJ via email and phone but spokesmen failed to comment. The department’s silence also extended to several establishment outlets, including Bloomberg, Politico, and CNN.
Fox News received a response from a DoJ spokesman who signaled that the federal agency, led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, does not see the incident as unethical. Fox reporter Cody Derespina writes:
A Justice Department spokesman, though, downplayed the significance of Kadzik’s 2015 email, saying it was “about public information” and sent “in his personal capacity, not during work hours.”
“He wasn’t communicating via official channels because it wasn’t official business,” Kevin Lewis told FoxNews.com. “He wasn’t emailing as ‘Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik.’”
Lewis, who would not characterize the substance of the email, said officials in the department do not typically provide campaign advice.
“It is not department practice to provide any strategic guidance to any campaign,” said Lewis, who did not answer when asked if Kadzik’s behavior was acceptable to the Justice Department.
The talking point of “public information” applies to Kadzik’s mention of a House Judiciary Committee hearing, which was publicly announced before he sent the email. However, the FOIA development was not public information. Other Wikileaks emails show that an unnamed Justice Department employee leaked a document with this information to the Clinton campaign’s press secretary Brian Fallon — just a day before Kadzik’s “heads up.” Derespina continues:
And it seems the Clinton camp already was well aware of the State Department FOIA case filing.
On May 18, Fallon received a copy of the filing from someone inside the Justice Department and forwarded the document to Mills, Podesta and others. It’s unknown who the original sender was because the person’s name was stripped before Fallon forwarded the message. Lewis told FoxNews.com he also didn’t know “who Brian spoke to.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters have accused the DoJ of failing the public’s expectation of impartiality, starting with a secret meeting between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch. Clinton and Lynch claimed to have spoken only about golf, grandchildren, and their travels on a private plane. However, only days after this meeting, FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton for violating federal laws on the handling of classified material.
Trump reacted to the release of Kadzik’s private email on Wednesday, telling a rally audience in Miami, Florida: “The spread of political agendas into the Justice Department… is one of the saddest things that has happened to our country.”