Weekly Update: Court Orders Clinton to Answer Email Questions
Federal Court Orders Hillary Clinton to Answer Additional Email Questions Under Oath
Our Team Is Back in South Florida Monitoring the Election Recount
DOJ Charges Hotel with Discrimination for Not Hiring an Immigrant
Apparently, no one in the federal bureaucracies cares to fully investigate Hillary Clinton’s email misconduct, but we are doing it, and we’re making progress.
This week U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that within 30 days Clinton must answer under oath two additional questions about her controversial email system.
In 2016, she was required to submit under oath written answers to our questions. Clinton objected to and refused to answer questions about the creation of her email system; her decision to use the system despite warnings from State Department cybersecurity officials; and the basis for her claim that the State Department had “90-95%” of her emails.
- Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
- During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails “were in the State’s system” and “if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.” Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.
Judge Sullivan read his opinion from the bench, deciding that the question about the creation of the email system was within the scope of discovery. Judge Sullivan rejected Clinton’s assertion of attorney-client privilege on the question about the emails “in the State’s system.”
The court refused Judicial Watch’s and media’s requests to unseal the deposition videos of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and other Clinton State Department officials. And it upheld Clinton’s objections to answering a question about why she refused to stop using her Blackberry despite warnings from State Department security personnel. Justice Department lawyers for the State Department defended Clinton’s refusal to answer certain questions and argued for the continued secrecy of the deposition videos.
This hearing and court ruling is the latest development in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former deputy chief of staff to Clinton. The lawsuit, which seeks records regarding the authorization for Abedin to engage in outside employment while employed by the Department of State, was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). The court also granted discovery to Judicial Watch to help determine if and how Clinton’s email system thwarted FOIA.
It is good news that a federal court ordered Clinton to answer more questions about her illicit email system. But it is shameful that our attorneys must continue to battle the State and Justice Departments, which still defend Hillary Clinton, for basic answers to our questions about Clinton’s email misconduct.
The public and the media have a right to a full accounting about the Clinton State Department. In lieu of a much-needed, new and untainted investigation by the FBI, the continued work of Judicial Watch in the courts is clearly the only hope of bringing sunlight into the Clinton email issue and completing the public record.
Sadly the Florida election fiasco isn’t new. Eighteen years ago, evidence of fraud was uncovered in Broward County during the Bush vs. Gore fiasco. (Here’s a 2001 C-Span video of a Judicial Watch press conference on our 2000 Florida election investigation that shows just how little has changed – other than the color of my hair!) And now Broward again is the center of the storm for election chaos and potential corruption. Our Corruption Chronicles blog details what we’re doing on the scene.
Nearly a decade after conducting a thorough Florida recount in a heated presidential contest, Judicial Watch is back in Broward and Palm Beach counties monitoring the midterm election fiasco. A legal and investigative team is closely watching the machine recount, which could be followed by a manual recount that could drag the spectacle out into the weekend. Florida law requires a machine recount when the vote margin in a race is less than 0.5 % and that occurred in three key statewide races—for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture secretary. If results from the machine recount show a 0.25% margin or less, a hand recount will ensue for undervotes and overvotes. An undervote occurs when no candidate is marked in a race. An overvote marks more than one candidate on the same ballot in the same race.
Back in 2000 Judicial Watch, with the help of a highly reputable auditing firm, executed complete recounts in the disputed counties of Collier, Hillsborough, Indian River, Miami-Dade, Pinellas and Sarasota as well as the highly contested counties of Broward and Palm Beach. It was a tight presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore and Judicial Watch’s recount proved that Bush clearly won Florida and thus the presidency. Judicial Watch has since launched a national Election Integrity Project to clean up voter rolls. Robert Popper, a former Justice Department deputy chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, is the program’s director and his team is on the ground in south Florida.
In the current debacle, all 67 counties are supposed to complete the machine recount by 3 p.m. on Thursday, a deadline set by the Florida Department of State. However, Palm Beach County Election Supervisor Susan Bucher said earlier in the week that would not be possible and a Tallahassee judge ordered the recount in Palm Beach County extended five additional days to November 20. Counties that don’t meet the recount deadline are supposed to keep the originally reported results on file. In the current recount, high-speed tabulating machines recheck all ballots against the original tallies. Many counties have completed the process. Palm Beach County, Florida’s third largest, has about 600,000 ballots to count and Bucher says outdated machines aren’t up to the task to meet the deadline even with staff working around the clock.
In other counties things are going pretty smoothly, including in the state’s largest, Miami-Dade, and results are expected to trickle in on time. The epicenter of the action is Broward, led by a famously incompetent election supervisor long under fire. Her name is Brenda Snipes and former Governor Jeb Bush appointed her in 2003 after getting rid of her equally inept predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, for severe mismanagement. In 2002 Judicial Watch investigated Oliphant for the botched Florida primaries in which her office lost hundreds of absentee ballots that were later found in a filing cabinet. The Florida Elections Commission fined Oliphant $10,000 for willfully neglecting her duties and causing dozens of polls to open late and close early during the 2002 gubernatorial primaries.
Snipes has proven to be just as bad, though voters have reelected her despite her well-documented transgressions in several lower-profile elections. In an editorial this week, Broward County’s largest newspaper calls for Snipes’ ouster, calling her incompetent and questioning why despite her record of poor performance she keeps getting reelected. Bush took to social media to blast the election supervisor he appointed, writing: “There is no question that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts, undermining Floridians’ confidence in our electoral process. Supervisor Snipes should be removed from her office following the recounts.”
Our Judicial Watch team remains on the ground in Broward and Palm Beach counties as I write – we’ll be sure to update you as events warrant!
Does that headline make you dizzy? Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the story.
In a case that helps illustrate why illegal immigrants game the system, the Trump administration is punishing a major hotel chain for refusing to hire a man that is not a lawful permanent resident or American citizen. Like countless undocumented aliens seeking quick employment, the man applied for asylum, a fraud-infested government program famously abused by foreigners to obtain work permits and other benefits in the U.S. When the New York-based hotel eliminated the asylee from the hiring process the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged it with discrimination after he filed a complaint.
This week the DOJ settled the case with the Hyatt Place Hotel in Queens. Under the settlement, the hotel’s management company, MJFT, will pay a civil penalty, train its staff and be subject to government monitoring and reporting requirements for three years. “In general, employers may not restrict the employment opportunities of asylees because of their citizenship or immigration status,” John Gore, the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ Civil Rights Division, said in an agency statement. “The Department is committed to enforcing workplace laws that prohibit discrimination to ensure that individuals have an opportunity to be fully and fairly evaluated based on their merits when they apply for jobs.” The DOJ asserts that the hotel discriminated against a work-authorized immigrant in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
It’s important to note the history of the U.S. government’s asylum program, long abused by illegal immigrants making fraudulent claims to get work permits and other taxpayer-funded benefits. When the program started in the 1990s asylum applicants received work permits instantly upon filling out the application. This led to a barrage of work permits being issued by the government. The policy eventually changed, by making asylum applicants wait 180 days before receiving authorization to work. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the overwhelmed agency that administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, refers to this as the “180-day Asylum EAD Clock”. The clock starts ticking the moment an asylum application is filled out.
Because there is a massive backlog in asylum cases, the clock has expired for legions of immigrants who may not even be legitimate candidates to remain in the country but are now able to work “legally.” Earlier this year USCIS made changes in the asylum processing system precisely to crack down on fraudulent claims filed to get work permits. The agency announced it will schedule asylum interviews for recent applications ahead of older filings—that perhaps already ran out the 180-day clock—to “deter those who might try to use the existing backlog as a means to obtain employment authorization.” The agency describes the current backlog as being at “crisis level.” As of January 21, 2018, USCIS had an asylum application backlog of 311,000, making the “system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse.” The backlog has grown an eye-popping 1,750 percent over the last five years and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled, USCIS reveals. The new “last in, first out” interview schedule will allow USCIS to identify frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum claims earlier and place those individuals into removal proceedings.
Judicial Watch has reported extensively and uncovered documents exposing the rampant fraud in the government’s asylum program. Under the Obama administration it was a well-known racket that admitted myriads of illegal immigrants who claimed to have a “credible fear.” In one scam the administration let hundreds of illegal immigrants stay in the U.S. even though federal authorities knew in advance that an open borders group coached them to falsely claim “credible fear” to get asylum. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show how the group, National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NITA), orchestrated an operation to bring 250 illegal aliens into the U.S. through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. To assure the migrants were allowed to stay in the U.S., the group had them falsely claim that they had a “credible fear” of returning to their native country. Foreigners can claim asylum under five categories, based on fear of persecution over race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership in a specific social group. The caravan making its way north from Central America is expected to seek asylum in the U.S. under one of these categories.
Credible fear asylum in the U.S. became so popular under Obama that illegal aliens were hearing about it on Facebook and federal immigration authorities got slammed with applications. For years the number of foreigners, including many from terrorist countries, asserting credible fear to gain asylum in this country skyrocketed. Last year the Washington D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a report documenting the pervasive fraud in the credible fear process that threatens the integrity of the asylum system. Among the key findings: Aliens with ties to terrorist organizations have attempted to enter illegally and claim asylum fraudulently; the number of asylum applications received by USCIS has increased significantly in recent years from 56,912 in 2014 to 115,888 in 2016. “The evidentiary burdens for aliens seeking asylum and withholding of removal are lower than for aliens seeking other immigration benefits,” CIS researchers found.
Until next week …