Weekly Update: JW Court Victory on Clinton Emails
Way too slowly, but surely, the government is revealing, under our pressure, what it knows about Hillary Clinton’s scandalous misuse of email.
This week United States District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the Department of State must make public a FBI declaration detailing its efforts to retrieve the former secretary of state’s government emails (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rex Tillerson (No. 1:15-cv-00785)).
I issued this statement regarding the decision:
We’re happy with the ruling but it is unbelievable we’re being opposed by Trump appointees in the State and Justice Departments on the Clinton email issue. President Trump ought to be outraged his appointees are protecting Hillary Clinton. The State Department should initiate action with the Justice Department – and both agencies should finally take the necessary steps to recover all the government emails Hillary Clinton unlawfully removed.
Here is the background.
On April 30, 2015, we sued former Secretary John Kerry after the State Department failed to take action on a letter we sent to Kerry “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the [Federal Records Act],” including working through the Attorney General to recover the emails.
After initially being dismissed by the district court, our lawsuit was revived on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 27, 2016. The Federal Records Act states that an agency head “shall” initiate an action through the Attorney General when he becomes aware of any unlawful removal of agency records.
While at the State Department, Clinton conducted official government business using an unsecure email server and email accounts. Her top aides and advisors also used non-“state.gov” email accounts to conduct official business.
The Trump administration defended the handling of the email matter by the Obama administration and filed two declarations from the FBI trying to justify the State Department’s refusal to follow the law and refer to the Clinton email issue to the Justice Department.
As the decision notes, the second FBI declaration is non-public and was filed in camera and ex parte with the court. Judge Boasburg rejected the State Department’s arguments that the FBI declaration be withheld to protect grand jury secrecy: “After reviewing the document in camera, the Court concludes it largely rehashes information already made public, thus obviating any need for secrecy.”
Meantime, transcripts reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveal that former FBI Director James Comey began drafting an exoneration statement in the Clinton email investigation before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses.
Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, requested all records relating to the drafting of the statement as the committee continues to review the circumstances surrounding Comey’s removal from the Bureau.
The senators wrote to the FBI: “Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”
This week’s confirming revelations that Mueller conducted a sham investigation should spur President Trump, in the least, to order the Justice Department to review the handling of the Clinton investigations.
(We’ve done some significant media on the topic this week. I appeared with Tucker Carlson last night on Fox and will be on the Hannity program tonight and Fox & Friends tomorrow morning (Saturday). You can view most of JW’s tv media appearances on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/JudicialWatch )
No matter what the administration does, you can see that the Clinton email scandal is far from over – and your JW will continue to take the lead in advocating for accountability and the rule of law.
It is no secret here in DC that rank-and-file FBI special agents, current and retired, worry about the politicization of what once was the nation’s premier law enforcement agency.
Accordingly, we today were honored to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, against the U.S. Department of Justice for records concerning FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (Jeffrey A. Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01792)). Danik worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost 30 years.
We filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s “conflicts of interest” regarding his wife’s (Dr. Jill McCabe’s) political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers.
The request we’re suing over is simple:
Text messages and emails of McCabe containing “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill,” “Common Good VA,” “Terry McAuliffe,” “Clinton,” “Virginia Democratic Party,” “Democrat,” “Conflict,” “Senate,” “Virginia Senate,” “Until I return,” “Paris,” “France,” “Campaign,” “Run,” “Political,” “Wife,” “Donation,” “OGC,” Email,” or “New York Times.”
In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, McCabe’s wife, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.
“I am saddened at how the FBI’s reputation has been tarnished by the poor judgment and ethics of its leadership,” Mr. Danik said. “I know I’m not the only retired (or serving) FBI special agent who is concerned about Mr. McCabe’s conflicts of interest on the Clinton email matter. The agency seems to be illegally hiding records about this scandal, which is why I’m heading to court with Judicial Watch.”
We’re honored to help Mr. Danik help hold accountable the agency he served for decades – the FBI. We believe Mr. McCabe’s text messages and emails will be particularly enlightening to the public seeking answers about the Clinton email debacle.”
In July 2017, we filed three FOIA lawsuits seeking communications between the FBI and McCabe concerning “ethical issues” involving his wife’s political campaign; McCabe’s communications with McAuliffe, and McCabe’s travel vouchers.
Watching the watchers is one key job of JW – and we’ll be sure to update you as we uncover more.
Until next week …