A federal judge in the nation’s capital will personally review redacted material from emails that discuss Hillary Clinton’s use of unsecure iPads and iPhones during her tenure as secretary of state.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will determine whether or not the Trump administration can withhold evidence that could shed light on accusations Clinton and her staff mishandled classified information.
Rejecting arguments by State Department and Justice Department lawyers, the judge ordered the State Department to file an affidavit addressing why it should not have to search newly recovered Clinton emails.
The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was brought by the government-watchdog Judicial Watch after the State Department failed to respond to a March 10, 2015, request.
Judicial Watch wants all records of requests by Clinton or her staff to the State Department Office Security Technology seeking approval for the use of an iPad or iPhone for official government business. It also seeks communications related to the use of unauthorized electronic devices for official government business.
Earlier this month, a Maryland judge ordered the state bar to investigate allegations Clinton and her lawyers destroyed evidence regarding their handling of classified information through a private email server, which violated State Department policy. Clinton and her associates were allowed to decide which of her 60,000 emails on her private server to surrender to the State Department and which would be withheld. About 33,000 were withheld as “private.” The FBI, however, later found thousands of work-related emails that weren’t turned over to the government.
Also this month, Judicial Watch released another 1,617 pages of documentation obtained from the State Department that details additional instances of “pay-to-play” by the Clinton Foundation when Clinton was secretary of state. There’s also evidence of the routine use of unsecured email accounts to transmit classified information.
Judicial Watch noted that in March 2016 it obtained State Department documents in the case showing the effort of Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s then-chief of staff, to obtain approval from the National Security Agency for Clinton’s use a BlackBerry smartphone. NSA personnel had denied Clinton’s requests, telling Clinton staff to “shut up and color.”
In June 2017, however, Judicial Watch presented evidence to the court showing that Clinton knowingly used an unsecure BlackBerry device.
“Hillary Clinton knowingly used an unsecure email system and risky iPads and smartphones to conduct classified and sensitive government business,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“It is frankly outrageous that Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions allow their agencies to cover up for and defend Hillary Clinton’s scandalous and potentially criminal conduct.”
In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau would not refer to the Justice Department for prosecution its probe of Clinton’s handling of classified material, even though he said Clinton was found to have been “grossly negligent.”
The FBI insisted “malicious intent” was necessary to prosecute, but legal analysts have pointed out that the relevant statute doesn’t require intent. Further, it was disclosed earlier that Comey had prepared his statement exonerating Clinton two months before the announcement, before even interviewing her or her aides.