Judicial Watch: Federal Court Orders DOJ to Provide More Details on Search for Obama-Era Communications with John Podesta and Clinton Campaign
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that, in an unusual Saturday ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ordered the U.S. Justice Department to provide more information about its search of former top Obama DOJ Official Peter Kadzik’s communications with then-Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, Clinton campaign officials, and others. The court order, issued in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, requires the Justice Department to provide additional details by June 15, 2018.
According to WikiLeaks, on May 19, 2015, Kadzik, using a Gmail account, sent Podesta an email appearing to tip off Clinton’s campaign about the Justice Department’s review of Clinton’s emails:
There is a HJC oversight hearing today where the head of our Civil Division will testify. Likely to get questions on State Department emails. Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.
Saturday’s order follows a June 6 hearing in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department on January 15, 2017, for:
All email correspondence between Peter Kadzik on either his official Justice Department email account [email protected] and any non-government employee concerning, regarding, or relating to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of non-state.gov email to conduct official government business;
All email correspondence between Peter Kadzik on either his official Justice Department email account or [email protected] and John Podesta; and
All email correspondence between Peter Kadzik on either his official Justice Department email account or [email protected] and any official, officer, or employee of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Judicial Watch argues that the Justice Department has refused to provide sufficient details about the search of Kadzik’s personal email account.
Judge Friedrich found that the Justice Department’s sworn representations about Kadzik’s search of his records were “incomplete”:
Although the [Justice Department] states that “Mr. Kadzik confirmed that he did not recall ever using his personal Gmail account to send any other similar e-mails to John Podesta, or to anyone else associated with the Clinton campaign,” … this statement does not cover the full scope of Judicial Watch’s specific FOIA requests.
The court ordered the DOJ to submit a supplemental declaration by June 15, 2018 that provides any additional details regarding Kadzik’s representations regarding whether his Gmail account contained agency records or potential agency records.
The DOJ is to provide details regarding two manual searches that Mr. Kadzik reportedly conducted. Also, the DOJ is to indicate, whether Kadzik opened and reviewed individual e-mails or just reviewed the titles, and which folders Kadzik reviewed when conducting his manual searches.
“We are pleased the court ordered the Justice Department to provide more details about its search for documents about Obama DOJ-Clinton campaign collusion,” stated Judicial Watch Tom Fitton. “It is disappointing we must continually battle the Sessions Justice Department for basic information on corruption in the Obama Justice Department.”