Conservatives who believe the Clinton email scandal was grossly mishandled by the Justice and State Departments are in good company as a federal judge recently echoed that same sentiment.
In a new memo, Senior District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth said Clinton “colluded” with the State Department to intentionally withhold information from the American people.
Washington Examiner reports Lamberth called the email scandal “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
According to the report, the judge is forcing the Justice and State Departments to cooperate with Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog.
In it, he demanded that State and Justice work with Judicial Watch, which has sued in the case, to develop an evidence seeking schedule into whether Clinton sought to avoid the federal Freedom of Information Act by using a private email system in her New York home.
In detailing the new memo from Lamberth, Judicial Watch issued a statement that also highlighted the judge’s concerns with how the current administration is handling the case.
“The historic court ruling raises concerns about the Hillary Clinton email scandal and government corruption that millions of Americans share,” said Judicial Watch Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch looks forward to conducting careful discovery into the Clinton email issue and we hope the Justice Department and State Department recognize Judge Lamberth’s criticism and help, rather than obstruct, this court-ordered discovery,” he added.
The Judicial Watch statement read, citing Judge Lamberth: “… the Court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer to plan discovery into (a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests.”
… his [President Barack Obama’s] State and Justice Departments fell far short. So far short that the court questions, even now, whether they are acting in good faith. Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as Secretary of State to thwart this lofty goal [Obama announced standard for transparency]? Was the State Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching – and disclosing the existence of – Clinton’s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?
At best, State’s attempt to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.
The judge said the current Justice Department, which operated under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and is now operating under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, is still not compliant in helping release information pertinent to the Clinton case:
“The current Justice Department made things worse,” Judge Lamberth wrote in the memo. “When the government last appeared before the Court, counsel claimed, ‘it is not true to say we misled either Judicial Watch or the Court.’ When accused of ‘doublespeak,’ counsel denied vehemently, feigned offense, and averred complete candor. When asked why State masked the inadequacy of its initial search, counsel claimed that the officials who initially responded to Judicial Watch’s request didn’t realize Clinton’s emails were missing, and that it took them two months to ‘figure out what was going on’… Counsel’s responses strain credulity.”
The main case concerned when Hillary Clinton was made aware of the details concerning the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi and why this information was not made available to the American people. The judge asked, via the Washington Examiner:
Citing an email (uncovered as a result of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit) that Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Benghazi was a terrorist attack immediately after it happened, Judge Lamberth asked:
Did State know Clinton deemed the Benghazi attack terrorism hours after it happened, contradicting the Obama Administration’s subsequent claim of a protest-gone-awry?
Did the Department merely fear what might be found? Or was State’s bungling just the unfortunate result of bureaucratic redtape and a failure to communicate? To preserve the Department’s integrity, and to reassure the American people their government remains committed to transparency and the rule of law, this suspicion cannot be allowed to fester.“
Fox News reminds that Clinton’s alleged misuse of the email server and the Benghazi incident were continuously echoed by conservatives and President Trump throughout the presidential campaign.
“President Trump and Republicans have repeatedly slammed Clinton’s use of the private email server, arguing in part that the practice potentially placed classified government information at risk,” Fox News reported.
“Clinton was found to have deleted emails that she said were personal and not related to her State Department work,” the Fox News report continued. “Comey announced during the 2016 presidential campaign that Clinton’s handling of emails was ‘extremely careless’ but did not warrant criminal charges.”