Just when you thought that the Hillary Clinton email saga was over, a new development surfaced. In the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, U.S. appeals court revives Clinton email suit. The appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling and said two U.S. government agencies should have done more to recover the emails.
The ruling from Judge Stephen Williams, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, revives one of a number of legal challenges involving Clinton’s handling of government emails when she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Let me remind you of what happened – Clinton used a private email server housed in a closet at her New York home to handle State Department emails. She handed over 55,000 emails to U.S. officials probing that system, but did not release about 30,000 she said were personal and not work related. This was after she was subpoenaed to release all her emails. ALL means ALL.
While the State Department and National Archives took steps to recover the emails from Clinton’s tenure, they did not ask the U.S. attorney general to take enforcement action. Two conservative groups filed lawsuits to force their hand.
A district judge in January ruled the suits brought by Judicial Watch and Cause of Action moot, saying State and the National Archives made a “sustained effort” to recover and preserve Clinton’s records.
But Williams said the two agencies should have done more, according to the ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Since the agencies neither asked the attorney general for help nor showed such enforcement action could not uncover new emails, the case was not moot.
“The Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder – e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General – might not bear more still,” Williams wrote. “Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.”
The State Department does not comment on pending litigation, a spokesperson said.
Williams noted that Clinton used two nongovernmental email accounts at State and continued using the Blackberry account she had while a U.S. senator during her first weeks as the nation’s U.S. diplomat. She only switched to the email account hosted on her private server in March 2009, the ruling said.
“Because the complaints sought recovery of emails from all of the former Secretary’s accounts, the FBI’s recovery of a server that hosted only one account does not moot the suits, the judge wrote.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement:
The courts seem to be fed up with the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the rule of law on the Clinton emails. Today’s appeals court ruling rejects the Obama State Department’s excuses justifying its failure to ask the attorney general, as the law requires, to pursue the recovery of the Clinton emails. This ruling means that the Trump Justice Department will have to decide if it wants to finally enforce the rule of law and try to retrieve all the emails Clinton and her aides unlawfully took with them when they left the State Department.
Hillary is having a really bad 2016, and chances are she will have a bad 2017. Hillary can now plan to make time for grand jury testimony thanks to this ruling from the DC Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Williams.
Happy New Year.
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