Judicial Watch Subpoenas Google in Hillary Clinton Email Lawsuit
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it served a subpoena, authorized by a DC federal court, on Google to produce all Clinton emails from a Google account believed to contain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. Platte River Networks’ IT specialist Paul Combetta reportedly used the Google account to transfer Clinton’s emails from a laptop to a Platte River server, then used BleachBit to remove any traces of the emails from the laptop. Judicial Watch’s subpoena seeks all Clinton emails from her time at State, January 21, 2009, to February 1, 2013. Google is requested to produce the emails by May 13.
The Google subpoena comes in a Judicial Watch’s lawsuit that seeks records concerning “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch famously uncovered in 2014 that the “talking points” that provided the basis for Susan Rice’s false statements were created by the Obama White House. This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.
During an August 2019 federal court hearing, U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth raised concerns about Clinton’s Gmail cache and ordered Judicial Watch to “shake this tree” on the issue. Judge Lamberth noted that Senator Grassley released:
a report in which he had some very troubling information about a guy named Combetta who had been one of the contract employees on the Clinton emails, and he and the Senator who Chairs the Homeland Security Committee released in the Senate this report Friday, and the gist of it was that Combetta had said, I guess, that he had created a dummy email account with all of the Hillary Clinton emails in it in a different name, and the FBI had investigated that to see whether or not the Chinese had ever hacked into it. They have determined that the Chinese hadn’t, but that the FBI never told the State Department about that account and that the emails that were not given over to State could have been obtained from that account, but the FBI never told State about it. So it leaves out in the open whether there are these other emails that State could have obtained but nobody ever bothered to tell State about them. I don’t know the status of that and I’m sure you don’t either, but that did occur to me that would be a problem for me as to whether an adequate examination of that circumstance occurred and, assuming that Combetta deleted them, as he said he did before he took the Fifth, I guess, whether or not the server that they were on or the — or whoever maintained the server, whether they can be reconstructed from — by that …
[J]ust last week, the Senate’s – Senate Finance and Homeland Security Committees released documents revealing that Clinton IT aide Paul Combetta copied all but four of the missing emails to a Gmail account that does not appear to have ever been reconstructed and searched. The court thinks Judicial Watch ought to shake this tree.
Judicial Watch seeks to subpoena Google for relevant documents and records associated with Secretary Clinton’s emails during her tenure at State.… The subpoena seeks to discover new emails, so it certainly relates to whether State conducted an adequate search.
The Court is not confident that State currently possesses every Clinton email recovered by the FBI; even years after the FBI investigation, the slow trickle of new emails has yet to be explained. For this reason, the Court believes the subpoena would be worthwhile and may even uncover additional previously undisclosed emails. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS this request.
Judicial Watch’s subpoena requests all Clinton emails and metadata, “sent or forwarded to or from or saved, stored, archive, or contained in the Gmail account associated with the following address:
a. [email protected]; or
“A federal court, tired of the State and Justice Departments’ gamesmanship, authorized Judicial Watch’s subpoena to Google to follow a lead on the Clinton emails,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “DOJ and State are AWOL and covering up for Hillary Clinton, so it is again up to Judicial Watch to do the basic investigative heavy lifting to get at the truth.”
In December 2018, Judge Lamberth first ordered discovery into whether Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. The court also authorized discovery into whether the Benghazi controversy motivated the cover-up of Clinton’s email. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
In addition to the Google subpoena, Judicial Watch was granted discovery that includes testimony under oath by Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills regarding Clinton’s emails and Benghazi attack records. Recently, Judicial Watch and the State Department, which is represented by Justice Department lawyers, filed responses opposing Clinton’s and Mills’Writ of Mandamus request to overturn the lower court order requiring their testimony.