FEBRUARY 16, 2016
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it recently obtained State Department records showing the agency asked Hillary Clinton to return emails in July 2014. This contradicts statements made in court that the agency only requested via a November 2014 letter, a version of which was sent to several former secretaries of state, that Mrs. Clinton return records to the State Department. Other new emails show the State Department has separate policies for handling the documents of State Department senior officials “and the rest of the department.”
The emails are found in a batch of 189 pages of documents produced under court order in a FOIA lawsuit specifically seeking all of Clinton’s emails and records about her email practices (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)).
An email from Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s former counselor and chief of staff, to David E. Wade, then-chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry, shows that the State Department asked for the Clinton emails in July 2014.
From: Cheryl Mills
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 9:20 AM
To: Wade, David E
Cc: Visek, Richard C; Philippe Reines
Subject: Following Up
Dear David (and Rich)
I wanted to follow up on your request last month about getting hard copies of Secretary Clinton’s emails to/from accounts ending in “.gov” for her tenure at the Department.
I will be able to get that to you, to the best of its availability. Given the volume, it will take some time to do but I wanted to let you know that I am working to get it to you.
Hope you are having a great end to your summer.
(Sorry for not copying Jen, I don’t have her email).
Judicial Watch filed this new email with U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan, who is now considering whether to grant discovery in a lawsuit seeking information on the “special government employee” status of Abedin. The court specifically asked the State Department about how and when it requested that Mrs. Clinton return records. In today’s filing, Judicial Watch states:
This [Mills] email indisputably shows that the State Department first asked Mrs. Clinton to return records as late as July 2014, not November 2014 as the State Department would have this Court and [Judicial Watch] believe.
Hillary Clinton also misled the American people, as she suggested during her infamous March 2015 United Nations press statement that she turned over the emails only after a request in October 2014 and responded “right away.” In fact, it took at least five months for her to turn over only half of the emails in question.
Another email, on the heels of the initial Clinton email story in the New York Times, details how a top State Department official tried to allay the concerns of National Archivist Paul Wester about the Clinton email issue. Margaret Grafeld, deputy assistant secretary of global information systems, recounts to other top State Department officials a March 3, 2015, call with National Archives:
I just had a very cordial 45 minute conversation with Paul Wester regarding the press coverage of the HRC email personal account and State records, focusing on State actions and those NARA will take today.
I explained to Paul the environment in which State operates (and the bifurcated management of records for principals vs the rest of the Department), as well as steps that M and others have initiated to ensure that we are compliant with laws and regulations.
In short, we can expect a letter from Paul to me later today covering the alienation (a legal term of art) of the former Secretary’s records [Redacted] requesting an explanation both of what happened and what we are doing to remedy the situation. I requested that he cc M on the letter as the Senior Agency Official for Records Management, which shall be done.
I will share the letter with you all as soon as I receive it.
Another email suggests the State Department provided Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers with a “two drawer safe” in which to store classified emails from the Clinton email server. The documents also show that a report was to be prepared regarding security issues with the Clinton emails, which included a security inspection made of the Clinton lawyers’ offices. One related email states:
Please ask the appropriate DS subject matter experts to contact [Clinton lawyer Kathleen] Turner to arrange for appointment to do a thorough security review to include physical security of area/safe in which document/electronic versions are being kept, who has access to the area/safe, do those Individuals have appropriate clearances, when the electronic version is uploaded on a computer is, it a stand-alone computer, when the disk/thumb drive is removed is any residual information deleted from the computer and any other appropriate questions. This review/inspection needs to be carried out as soon as possible.
The records also show that, as of December 2, 2014, the Select Committee on Benghazi was still in the dark about the separate Clinton email system. Mrs. Clinton would return some of the requested emails to the State Department on December 5, 2014, but the Select Committee was not informed of this transaction until March 2015. In fact, a December 29, 2014, letter from Mr. Kendall responding to the December 2 request for documents simply refers to the Committee’s request to the State Department with no mention of the Clinton email transfer that took place over three weeks earlier.
“The State Department and Mrs. Clinton have been misleading the American people, the Congress, and the courts about when the State Department asked her for the government emails she took with her when she left State,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “The new emails show that Hillary Clinton was specifically and separately asked for her government emails months earlier than when the State Department has told the courts and when Clinton told the American people. These new documents ought to be of keen interest to the FBI and federal prosecutors investigating Hillary Clinton and her colleagues in the Obama administration. Were the White House and John Kerry in on this deception?”
Last week, this lawsuit produced records that included a letter from the Department of State to Hillary Clinton’s lawyers that includes a list of classified records to be either deleted or returned to the State Department. In September 2015, Judicial Watch released State Department documents showing a nearly five-month gap in the emails that Clinton chose to return to the State Department. Shortly afterward, Judicial Watch released correspondence from Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy asking Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, to destroy or return all copies of a classified email “forwarded by Jacob Sullivan to Secretary Clinton … (Subject: Fw: FYI – Report of arrests – possible Benghazi connection).” Kendall rejected the request, as Congress and other investigators had demanded electronic records to be preserved. The correspondence also shows Hillary Clinton ignored a demand to turn over all electronic copies of the approximately 55,000 pages of emails she previously returned in paper form.