Commentary

Clinton Email Scandal Rages on as Judicial Watch Lawsuits Take Center Stage

Tom Fitton
By Tom Fitton | September 15, 2015 | 9:57 AM EDT

Hillary Clinton (AP Photo)

Judicial Watch litigation most assuredly led to the disclosure of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s separate email system.  Judicial Watch’s nearly 20 lawsuits touching on the Clinton email scandal continue to be the best vehicle for the American people to learn the truth, hold Mrs. Clinton accountable to law, and actually pry out documents that Hillary Clinton or the Obama administration have tried to keep secret contrary to law.

And we’re not slowing down.

Judicial Watch (JW) recently filed a new lawsuit seeking access to two of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails in their original, native format.  The “native” format contains metadata, which provides details such as server information and hidden email recipients.

In May 2015, the State Department posted on its website several emails allegedly returned by Clinton to the State Department late last year.  In July, Judicial Watch submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for email “as it was sent” for two of the emails – one by Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Sunday, August 21, 2011, from her AbedinH@state.gov address, and the other email “as it was received” by Jacob Sullivan on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at his sullivanjj@state.gov address.

Being reasonable folks, Judicial Watch offered the State Department an option. If they could not produce the emails in their native format, the agency should then produce records that would identify the information contained in the email headers.

True to form, the State Department did not respond as required by federal law to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, even though it acknowledged receiving it on July 9.  So, we are pressing ahead.  Again quite reasonably, JW’s lawsuit also requests that the court order the State Department to produce the two emails promptly.

Here it is important to recall that a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit forced the State Department to demand that Clinton’s then-top State Department aides, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, return all copies, both electronic and paper, of government records in their possession.  Notably, the State Department had not demanded the same of Mrs. Clinton, even though federal law also prohibits her from keeping government records.

There remains a question of whether Mrs. Clinton used a “hrod17@clintonemail.com” email address to conduct official State Department business.  Although Mrs. Clinton claims that email address was not created until 2013, the paper copy of the email sent to Jacob Sullivan on July 7, 2012, that was returned by Mrs. Clinton to the State Department shows the “from” email address as “hrod17@clintonemail.com.”  Interesting how an email address supposedly not created until 2013 is used in 2012!  The requested native format copy or metadata of the email will definitely tell us whether Mrs. Clinton is telling the truth about this other email account.

In refusing to respond to our simple request about two emails that can answer many questions about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, the State Department is not only violating FOIA but helping provide protection for Hillary Clinton.  The fact that Mrs. Clinton only provided paper copies of her emails was not accidental.  Both she and the State Department have something to hide.

It was back in March that the news initially broke that Hillary Clinton used a non-government email during her four years as secretary of state.  And it was a JW FOIA lawsuit that forced Mrs. 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.

This new Judicial Watch lawsuit, if the past is prologue, will enable the public to see documentary, first-hand evidence about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Tom Fitton is the President of Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption. Founded in 1994, Judicial Watch seeks to ensure government and judicial officials act ethically and do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American public.

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