During a hearing on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth accused State Department officials of signing “clearly false” affidavits meant to thwart legal investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During the heated exchange, Lamberth said that he was left “shocked” and “dumbfounded” when he discovered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation granted former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills immunity during the investigation of Clinton’s infamous e-mail server — especially because Lamberth himself had found that she had previously perjured herself.
“I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case,” Lamberth said.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz called the FBI’s actions “inconsistent with typical investigative strategy” in his report. He also said former FBI director James Comey “usurped the authority of Attorney General, and did not accurately describe the legal position of the Department prosecutors” in his summer 2016 announcement that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Clinton.
When the State Department then immediately moved to dismiss the lawsuit against Clinton, Lamberth refused. On Friday, he said:
It was clear to me that at the time that I ruled initially, that false statements were made to me by career State Department officials, and it became more clear through discovery that the information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the search and this – what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.
I don’t know the details of what kind of IG inquiry there was into why these career officials at the State Department would have filed false affidavits with me. I don’t know the details of why the Justice Department lawyers did not know false affidavits were being filed with me, but I was very relieved that I did not accept them and that I allowed limited discovery into what had happened.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement calling on President Trump to press the State Department for more information:
President Trump should ask why his State Department is still refusing to answer basic questions about the Clinton email scandal. Hillary Clinton’s and the State Department’s email cover up abused the FOIA, the courts, and the American people’s right to know.
The government’s independent Accountability Review Board found “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels” at the Clinton State Department which produced “a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”
Clinton, of course, positioned the Benghazi attack, which cost four American lives, as “a political football” that was “aimed at undermining my credibility, my record, my accomplishments.”
The case is Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State, No. 1:14-cv-01242, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.