Weekly Update: Court Victory on Clinton Emails
JANUARY 12, 2018
U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg has given us an important victory in our quest for the truth about former FBI Director James Comey and his infamous memos.
Boasberg ruled that the FBI must turn over to the court for in camera, non-public review Comey’s memos allegedly detailing conversations he had with President Donald Trump.
The court, in seeking to review the documents, shows it doesn’t trust the FBI or Justice Department’s representations about the memos. We hope now that Americans are one step closer to knowing the facts about these memos, which were written and leaked for pernicious purposes to target a sitting president with a criminal investigation. It’s high time they begin to see the light of day. We’re glad the court followed up on our specific suggestion that it review the documents directly.
The court order tells the government to turn over the Comey memos for review by January 18. In doing so, the court rejects arguments by the Sessions Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuits seeking the Comey information.
On June 16, 2017, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for “ FBI Director James Comey’s February 14, 2017 memorandum … memorializing an Oval Office conversation he had with the President on that date regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.”
On September 7, 2017, we filed a related FOIA lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation for “all unclassified memoranda authored by former FBI Director James Comey that contemporaneously memorialized his discussions with President Donald Trump and his aides.”
We recently made court filings on behalf the Daily Caller News Foundation and on behalf of Judicial Watch, requesting that the Justice Department be ordered to produce all of Comey’s unclassified memoranda about his one-on-one conversations with the president. We argued that, “at a minimum, the Court should review the Comey Memos in camera to determine whether all responsive records have been located. This can be easily accomplished by comparing the memos to the very public testimony of Director Comey.”
The Justice Department previously argued to the court that Comey’s leak of the memo regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was unauthorized and compared it to WikiLeaks.
Comey admitted to Congress regarding the “Flynn” memo: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter [for The New York Times] … I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” The New York Times published a report about the memo on May 16, 2017. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed the following day.
Both Judicial Watch cases have been consolidated in Cable News Network, Inc., v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (No. 1:17-cv-01167).
The Comey leak was outrageous, leading to the appointment of an out-of-control, conflicted, and compromised Robert Mueller as special counsel. Let’s hope this initial court victory leads to the ultimate success of getting the full truth about Comey’s machination to target President Trump.
The Deep State bureaucracies in Washington give awful life to the cliché that “the wheels of justice turn slowly.” Such has been the case with the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Last year, the FBI uncovered 72,000 pages of documents that Clinton attempted to delete or did not otherwise disclose. The State Department had been processing these documents at a rate that would have required us and the American people to wait until at least 2020 to see them.
Now I’m pleased to tell you that a federal court judge has ordered the State Department to speed up the processing and production of these emails. U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg ordered State to finish processing the remaining documents by September 28, 2018.
Prior to the FBI investigation, Clinton repeatedly stated that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order in another Judicial Watch case, she declared under penalty of perjury that she had “directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.”
Clinton failed to turn over at least 627 emails in that 55,000-page production, further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.
Judge Boasberg’s November 30 order came in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)) seeking:
All emails sent or received by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Secretary Clinton regarding her non-“state.gov” email address.
The court also ordered the State Department to identify and explain the basis for all documents withheld in full – both the 55,000 pages of emails turned over by Clinton and the 72,000 pages of records recovered by the FBI which have been processed thus far – by April 6, 2018.
Here is some background. In November 2016, Judge Boasberg ordered the State Department to process no less than 500 pages a month of records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. The following year, in October 2017, we asked the court to increase the State Department’s processing requirement, noting that, under its current pace of production, the Clinton emails would not be completely released until at least 2020.
At the October 2017 hearing, the State Department reported to the court that they were revamping their FOIA processing and reallocating resources. Judge Boasberg then issued an order instructing the State Department to explain “how its anticipated increase in resources will affect processing of records in this case …” Ultimately, JW’s pressure and continued court oversight led to getting the State Department to get on the ball and begin producing records in a timely manner.
How ironic it is that the Trump State Department had to be ordered by a federal court to stop slow-rolling the release of Clinton emails. Our Freedom of Information Act lawsuits – not Congress or the media – uncovered Clinton’s email cover-up and related crimes. Now it is up to the Justice Department to finally follow up with an honest and independent investigation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a terrorist-front group that is often quoted in the news media as a “civil rights” organization for Muslims. It is one thing for ignorant reporters to not know about CAIR’s background, but there is no excuse for law enforcement! Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the latest outrage:
Caving into the demands of a terrorist front group, the City of Atlanta Detention Center in Georgia is allowing female Muslim inmates to wear a head scarf (hijab) used as a symbol of modesty in the Islamic dress code. Hats and other head covers are banned in American state and federal prisons for security and safety reasons. Making an exception to this rule to appease followers of one religion sets a dangerous precedent. Besides, the Quran doesn’t require Muslim women to wear a hijab. The cover is optional and those who wear it do so willfully as an act of worship.
Nevertheless, corrections officials at the City of Atlanta Detention Center changed the rules to satisfy the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation (read more in a Judicial Watch special report that focuses on Muslim charities). CAIR was founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, known then as the Islamic Association for Palestine. The Obama administration allowed CAIR to transform the way U.S. law enforcement agencies conduct anti-terrorism training by allowing the group to bully agencies at the local, state and federal level to alter counterterrorism training materials determined to be discriminatory against Muslims.
This includes getting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to purge anti-terrorism training curricula of material coined “offensive” to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal, obtained the FBI records and published an in-depth report. CAIR also got several local police departments and the U.S. military to eliminate anti-terrorism training materials and instructors deemed anti-Muslim. At CAIR’s request, Obama’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, ordered the U.S. military to “scour its training material to ensure it doesn’t contain anti-Islamic content.”
It’s not clear if the Trump administration obliged with CAIR’s March 2017 demand that the Air Force sever ties with instructor Patrick Dunleavy, a former deputy inspector general for the New York State Department of Corrections who’s testified before Congress on the threat of Islamic radicalization in the nation’s prison system. CAIR wants to oust Dunleavy over his ties to a reputable think-tank recognized as a comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist cells. CAIR accuses the research group, Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), of being an “anti-Muslim propaganda mouthpiece.”
The Atlanta hijab issue surfaced last year when one of CAIR’s Georgia directors got arrested. Authorities instructed the CAIR director, Asma Elhuni, to remove her hijab during booking and she refused, citing her religious beliefs. The incident launched a campaign to change the rules at the jail facility that houses offenders from throughout Fulton County, the state’s most populous. CAIR said Elhun “bravely defended her constitutional rights” and ordered a policy change. This week, the group thanked City of Atlanta Detention Center Chief Patrick Labat for agreeing to a policy that protects religious freedom. To celebrate, CAIR is providing the jail with hijabs, “in-bulk free-of-charge.” Now CAIR is demanding that female inmates be granted the option of taking their booking photos in the presence of only female inmates and female staff to avoid violating their religious beliefs involving men.
Years ago, CAIR published and distributed a Correctional Institution’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices to help prison officers and administrators gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims. The 20-page handbook is designed to help prisons formulate and implement policies that will help create a culturally sensitive environment and facilitate rehabilitation in the country’s prisons. It also serves as a guide to the “religiously mandated practices of incarcerated Muslims and their visitors.” Though most prisons around the nation continue to follow the rule of law, a few have caved in to CAIR’s hijab demands, including facilities in Hennepin County Minneapolis and Lucas County Ohio. In 2016, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit against sheriff’s deputies in Oceana County Michigan for making a Muslim woman remove her headscarf during booking. The lawsuit accused the officers of violating the woman’s constitutional rights to free exercise of religion and free expression guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Let’s hope our educational reporting gets the attention of other government entities and they will now be on the watch for CAIR’s games.
Until next week …