The revelation emerged after a court ordered the release of State Department documents as part of Judicial Watch’s effort to obtain Clinton emails under the Freedom of Information Act.
Emails sent and received by Clinton on her private server are missing over periods totaling five months, beginning when she took office as secretary of state in 2009.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the gaps indicate Clinton lied under oath when she said all her emails had been turned over, and it suggested government officials had not turned over everything they were required to deliver.
Fitton said other State Department officials, including the one in charge of email production, Patrick Kennedy, previously had been informed of the five-month gap.
The gap in emails received by Clinton run from Jan. 21, 2009, when she became secretary of state, to March 17, 2009. The gaps in emails sent by Clinton from from Jan. 21, 2009, to April 12, 2009, and from Dec. 30, 2012, to Feb. 1, 2013.
Judicial Watch said the revelation of the email gap casts doubt on whether Clinton told the truth when she declared under oath last month, “I have directed that all of my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State.”
Judicial Watch obtained that statement, made in response to a court order, in separate FOIA litigation.
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The announcement of the email gap was made at an event in which many of the best minds in Washington came together to discuss what to do about the many crises plaguing the country during the Obama era.
Judicial Watch is holding a day-long “Leadership Summit on Washington Corruption and the Transparency Crisis.”
Judicial Watch has been in the forefront of the legal battle to obtain Clinton’s emails and State Department documents concerning the former secretary of state’s use of a private server to conduct all of her official business.
Contrary to her denials, government inspectors revealed Clinton did have classified information on her private server, which security experts say was especially vulnerable to hacking by foreign intelligence agencies.
The FBI is investigating Clinton’s use of the server and trying to retrieve 30,000 emails she deleted after her own staff deemed them personal correspondence.
The State Department said it had received approximately “60,00-70,000 pages of email correspondence printed to paper and stored in twelve bankers boxes,” which are “the only comprehensive set of Secretary Clinton’s email correspondence.”
But the department was concerned there were other Clinton emails that would not be found.
“However, of the sample examined, many of the emails were from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account to official Department email accounts of her staff. Emails originating from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account would only be captured by Department systems when they came to an official Department email account, i.e., they would be captured only in the email accounts of those recipients. Secretary Clinton’s staff no longer work at the Department, and the status of the email accounts of Secretary Clinton’s staff (and other Department recipients) is unknown at this time.”
Fitton said one State Department official indicated she did not want a written record of the inquiry into Clinton’s emails, noting an email in which she said she preferred to discuss the matter on the phone.
Every email should have been turned over
Fitton also said that among the newly obtained documents is an internal appraisal by the State Department that determined none of Clinton’s emails should have been excluded for examination as to whether they were personal or government business.
The document, titled “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Email Appraisal Report,” dated Feb. 9, 2015, concluded: “As the person holding the highest level job in the Department, any email message maintained by or for the immediate use of the secretary of state is ‘appropriate for preservation.’ This record series cannot be considered personal papers based on the definition of a record in 44 U.S.C. 3301 or Department policy found in 5 FAM 443.”
All of Clinton’s emails should have been turned over to the government for review, Fitton said.
That determination by the State Department is significant, because Clinton said she deleted more than 30,000 emails that her own staff had determined were personal.
Fitton emphasized that none of the Clinton emails were made public voluntarily but were disclosed as the result of litigation.
He compared the five-month Clinton email gap to the infamous 18-minute gap in the audio tapes turned over to Watergate investigators by President Nixon.
The email gap was revealed in documents obtained under court order in the FOIA lawsuit against the Department of State originally filed by Judicial Watch on May 6, 2013.
The documents also revealed for the first time the private email account that top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills apparently used to conduct government business, email@example.com
The documents also show the State Department had concerns months ago about classified information in Clinton’s emails.
A letter on March 3, 2015, to longtime Clinton attorney David Kendall said, “Please note that if Secretary Clinton wishes to release any document or portion thereof, the Department must approve such release and first review the document for information that may be protected from disclosure for privilege, privacy or other reasons.”
Just last week, Justice Department lawyers told a federal judge they had no reason to suspect Clinton had failed to produce any emails requested by Congress or watchdog groups.
Monday’s revelation of the five-month gaps in emails turned over by Clinton would appear to cast doubt on the Justice Department’s assurance.
The State Department appraisal report that said Clinton should have turned over all emails, including the 30,000 she deleted, because they were deemed personal, also seemed to contradict the Justice Department.
Top Justice Department lawyers Benjamin Mizer and Elizabeth Shapiro said in papers filed in federal court Wednesday: “Because personal records are not subject to [the Freedom of Information Act], and State Department employees may delete messages they deem in their own discretion to be personal, plaintiff’s preservation argument reduces to an unsupported allegation that former Secretary Clinton might have mistakenly or intentionally deleted responsive agency records rather than personal records.”
Judicial Watch described the Monday event as a symposium that will “examine how the Obama administration’s corruption and abuse of power have undermined the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.”
The group contended the nation is “in the midst of an unprecedented assault on its open records laws by the corrupt and secretive Obama administration and corrupt politicians like Hillary Clinton, an assault that we believe poses a serious threat to our country’s future.”
The event was divided into three sessions, with closing remarks and a question-and-answer period. The first session was “Clinton Corruption Challenge from Benghazi to Clinton Cash.”
- Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president
- John Fund, columnist for National Review Online and senior editor at the American Spectator
- Joe diGenova, diGenova & Toensing
- Steve Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News
- David Martosko – U.S. political editor for DailyMail.com
During the first panel, Fund called it ironic that Clinton began her career as a staffer on a House committee investigating the 18-minute gap in the Nixon tapes.
Fund recalled how her supervisor, a Democrat, had said it would only be a matter of time before the Nixonian traits she had learned would come back to haunt her.
The columnist also predicted that investigators would get to the bottom of the email scandal because, he quipped, “I happen to know that President Jarrett is not amused by the scandal” – a reference to Obama’s top adviser, Valerie Jarrett.
DiGenova claimed Clinton wanted a private email server only to deny access to everyone who had a legal right to see her emails.
“If not for Judicial Watch, we would not be sitting here today,” he said.
DiGenova said Clinton “knew all of her electronic devices were not encrypted,” so the suggestions she did not know that she would receive classified information was “ludicrous.”
“And she knew if she turned over everything, she’d be dead meat.”
He added, “I know who has all of the emails – the NSA.”
DiGenova said every one of the emails would have been captured by the spy agency as part of a counter-intelligence program.
“One phone call from the attorney general to the head of the NSA would have produced them all,” he said.
Fitton said he “guaranteed” all of Clinton’s emails were in the possession of her attorney, Kendall.
The second session was “Illegal Immigration Crisis: National Security, Job Security, Election Integrity and Public Safety.”
- Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch director of research and investigations
- Irene Garcia, Judicial Watch investigative reporter
- Rep. Louis Gohmert, U.S. congressman, TX-1
- Andrew C. McCarthy III, senior fellow at National Review Institute
- Robert Popper, Judicial Watch senior attorney and head of Election Integrity Project
- J. Christian Adams – president and general counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation
The final session: “The IRS Attack on Free Speech.”
- Paul Orfanedes, Judicial Watch director of litigation
- Ramona Cotca, Judicial Watch senior attorney
- Cleta Mitchell, partner and political law attorney, Foley & Lardner LLP
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