Federal Appeals Court to Hold Hearing on Judicial Watch Suit to Force State Department Action on Hillary Clinton Emails
‘[B]ecause the State Department still has not recovered all the records, a referral to the Attorney General is necessary’ – Judicial Watch brief
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a hearing is scheduled for Thursday, October 18, 2018, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia regarding the failure of the State Department to take remedial measures to recover emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high-level State Department officials who used a non-state.gov email system to conduct official business.
Date: Thursday, October 18
Time: 9:30 am ET
Location: Courtroom 31
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
333 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
The appeal names Michael Pompeo, current secretary of state, as the defendant-appellee. Judicial Watch argues that the laws requires a referral for action to the Justice Department:
[I]t is important to recall that this case arises from a mess of the State Department’s own making. The State Department was fully aware throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure that she was using a private email system. Then, at the end of her tenure, the State Department allowed four years of federal records to “walk out the door” with Secretary Clinton. Only belatedly did the State Department ask Secretary Clinton to return those records. Yet it is undisputed that not all emails have been returned. All the efforts that have been made – and remain to be made – are necessary because of the State Department’s failure to preserve federal records as it was required to do. And because the State Department still has not recovered all the records, a referral to the Attorney General is necessary. [Emphasis added]
Judicial Watch further points out that the State Department has never claimed that all unlawfully removed records have been recovered. And, the State Department “must approach the Attorney General and seek his assistance in retrieving federal records that have been unlawfully removed from the State Department. The Federal Records Act requires him to do so.”
In May 2015, Judicial Watch filed suit after the State Department failed to take action on a letter “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the [Federal Records Act],” including working through the Attorney General to recover the emails (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. John F. Kerry (No. 1:15-cv-00785)).
After initially being dismissed by the district court, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit was revived on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 27, 2016. The Federal Records Act states that an agency head “shall” initiate an action through the Attorney General when he becomes aware of any unlawful removal of agency records.
“The State Department should have taken it upon themselves to initiate action with the Justice Department – and both agencies should finally make an honest effort to recover all the government emails Hillary Clinton unlawfully removed,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is frankly incredible that the Pompeo State Department is still protecting Hillary Clinton from the consequences of her illicit email activity.”