Judicial Watch: Court Overrules Trump Administration Objections & Will Review State Department Clinton-Petraeus Emails
OCTOBER 12, 2017
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that a federal judge will personally review, in camera, unredacted copies of emails between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and General David Petraeus. In taking these steps, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the Trump State Department’s argument that information regarding a potential personnel appointment is protected by a claim of personal privacy. This is the third federal court that has turned aside Trump administration efforts to defend Hillary Clinton’s email and related information from further review.
Judge Randolph D. Moss last week ordered the State Department to “provide the court with unredacted copies of General Petraeus’ emails to Secretary Clinton dated January 10, 2009, and January 14, 2009 for in camera [non-public] inspection.”
Judicial Watch seeks the emails as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit related to Clinton’s non-government email server (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00689)). Judicial Watch filed its May 6, 2015, lawsuit after the State Department failed to respond to a March 6, 2015, FOIA request. Judicial Watch seeks:
- All records concerning the use of a non-“state.gov” email address by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Such records include, but are not limited to, records concerning security, classification, preservation, and compliance with the Federal Records Act and/or the Freedom of Information Act.
In August 2016, the FBI uncovered 14,900 Clinton emails and attachments that Clinton deleted and withheld from the State Department. Judicial Watch argued that the State Department inappropriately withheld “the names of ‘any third party discussed’ in an email exchange between Clinton and Petraeus.”
One Petraeus email at issue reads:
P.S. Any feedback on possibility of keeping [redacted] until his replacement is confirmed? As you recall this was a personal request from [redacted]. Best — Dave.
A second email reads:
Thx for making it happen [redacted]. Great news.
Judge Moss states in his order that “the Court must balance the privacy interest of the individuals with respect to the public disclosure of their identities against the public interest in that disclosure.”
In a related case, another federal judge ordered the State Department to file an affidavit addressing why it should not have to search new Clinton emails recovered regarding redacted material from emails discussing Secretary Clinton’s use of iPads and iPhones during her tenure at the State Department. In taking these steps, the court rejected arguments by the Tillerson State Department and its lawyers at the Sessions Justice Department.
In a recent ruling, United States District Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the State Department to make public a FBI declaration detailing its efforts to retrieve Hillary Clinton’s government emails.
“It is appalling that the Sessions Justice Department and the Tillerson State Department continue to try shielding Hillary Clinton,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This is the third federal court that has rejected arguments by Trump agencies to defend Hillary Clinton. President Trump needs to bring his agencies to heel on this core corruption issue.”