Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hillary Stonewalls Email Scandal Investigation


Second federal judge orders discovery regarding Clinton emails

By Paul Mirengoff
Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. district court in Washington D.C. today became the second federal judge to order discovery regarding Clinton emails. Both cases were brought by the invaluable Judicial Watch.

As we have discussed, Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, has already granted Judicial Watch discovery on the Clinton email matter in separate litigation. Judicial Watch’s discovery plan in that case seeks the testimony of eight current and former State Department officials, including top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano, and Clinton’s two top aides at the State Department: Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.

The discovery ordered by Judge Lamberth pertains to emails surrounding the infamous Benghazi talking points — the Obama administration’s attempt to hide the fact that the Benghazi attacks were the premeditated effort of a group connected with al Qaeda.

Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks from Hillary Clinton and her top State Department staff::

Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya AND any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

Discovery is rare in FOIA litigation. A court either finds that the government complied with FOIA or that it did not.

However, Judge Lamberth ordered limited discovery regarding Clinton email issues because “there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith.” He explained:

An understanding of the facts and circumstances surrounding Secretary Clinton’s extraordinary and exclusive use of her “” account to conduct official government business, as well as other officials’ use of this account and their own personal e-mail accounts to conduct official government business is required before the Court can determine whether the search conducted here reasonably produced all responsive documents. Plaintiff is certainly entitled to dispute the State Department’s position that it has no obligation to produce these documents because it did not “possess” or “control” them at the time the FOIA request was made.

The State Department’s willingness to now search documents voluntarily turned over to the Department by Secretary Clinton and other officials hardly transforms such a search into an “adequate” or “reasonable” one. Plaintiff is not relying on “speculation” or “surmise” as the State Department claims. Plaintiff is relying on constantly shifting admissions by the Government and the former government officials. Whether the State Department’s actions will ultimately be determined by the Court to not be “acting in good faith” remains to be seen at this time, but plaintiff is clearly entitled to discovery and a record before this Court rules on that issue.

Emphasis added.

Judge Lamberth went on to say that “the factual record must be developed appropriately in order for this Court to make [a] determination” as to whether there was “a lack of good faith” on the government’s part.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch said this about Judge Lamberth’s ruling:

This remarkable decision will allow Judicial Watch to explore the shifting stories and misrepresentations made by the Obama State Department and its current and former employees. This Benghazi litigation first uncovered the Clinton email scandal, so it is good to have discovery in this lawsuit which may help the American people find out why our efforts to get Benghazi answers was thwarted by Clinton’s email games.

Indeed, it is.


The Justice Department’s Hillary Stonewall
By Andrew C. McCarthy

When it comes to Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, the most important thing to bear in mind — even more than classified information — is this: It was all about avoiding accountability.
It still is.
Mrs. Clinton did not set out to damage national security and compromise defense secrets, although she obviously had no compunction about doing so as necessary to serve her higher personal interests. For a generation, she has been a public person whose most intimate companion has been scandal. She knew her State Department stewardship would be no different. Her motive in designing a communication system that circumvented government recordkeeping and disclosure laws was to avoid a day of reckoning as she campaigned in 2016 for the power of the presidency she craves.
And that is where Loretta Lynch comes in.
That would be the same Loretta Lynch who came to prominence in 1999 by being appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York by none other than Mrs. Clinton’s husband. Loretta Lynch, who had a history of significant political contributions to Democratic-party candidates before President Obama reappointed her as U.S. Attorney for the EDNY in 2010, and then elevated her to U.S. attorney general in 2015. Loretta Lynch, who said in her confirmation hearings that she supports the Democratic president’s lawless executive actions and non-enforcement of federal law. Loretta Lynch, who very much likes being attorney general of the United States and would be well positioned to continue in that powerful post in a Hillary Clinton administration.
The known evidence that Mrs. Clinton committed federal crimes is abundant, perhaps even overwhelming. It is manifest that she lawlessly transmitted and stored classified information outside its secure system, and that she caused her underlings to do so. But remember, there is also the evidence that is unknown to the public — though it is being pored over by the FBI: the 32,000 e-mails Clinton refused to turn over to the State Department (which involved converting them to her private use) and attempted to destroy by trying to delete them (i.e., to wipe her private server clean).
As I’ve previously pointed out, the federal embezzlement statute makes it a felony to destroy government files or convert them to one’s private use. The FBI has reportedly been able to recover at least some and possibly all of the e-mails Clinton tried to erase. Unless you really believe that one of the busiest high officials in the U.S. government had time for 32,000 e-mails about yoga routines and Chelsea’s wedding dress, it is inevitable that some of those e-mails, probably a goodly portion, related to State Department business — i.e., they were government files.
With such neon indicators of serious wrongdoing, it seems highly likely that the FBI, which has reportedly devoted substantial time and resources to the investigation, will recommend prosecution. For all we know, that may have happened already. Once such a recommendation has been made, the ball is in the Justice Department’s court: It will be up to Attorney General Lynch — with whatever direction she gets from her boss, the president — to decide whether to indict Clinton.
An indictment would be devastating to the Democrats’ chances of retaining the White House in the November election. Thus, the conventional wisdom holds that Lynch will decline prosecution, which the executive branch has the unreviewable constitutional power to do, regardless of how damning the proof of crimes might be.
But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? And to be clear, I am not suggesting that Lynch will shock the world by approving an indictment against her party’s candidate for the presidency.
What if Loretta Lynch simply decides to . . . do nothing?
You’ve no doubt noticed throughout the last seven years that the Obama administration is quite insistent on its discretion not to enforce congressional statutes, notwithstanding the president’s constitutional oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed. Well, just as no law may compel the Justice Department to prosecute a case, there is also no law that requires the attorney general to decide whether to prosecute within a specific period of time, much less to explain a decision not to prosecute — if such a decision is actually made.
The FBI can make a recommendation to prosecute in the strongest terms based on the most convincing evidence. But not only does the FBI have no power to force the Justice Department to prosecute; it has no power to force the Justice Department to decide whether to prosecute.
The Obama Justice Department, during Eric Holder’s tenure and continuing into Ms. Lynch’s stewardship, has been the most politicized in American history. It is often observed that, in using the executive’s law-enforcement powers against the administration’s adversaries, the real weapon is the process, not the ability to trump up charges and make them stick. The Justice Department’s stable of community organizers and “social justice” crusaders know that persons, organizations, and companies can be ruined by the mere threat of an indictment — even if one is never forthcoming. “Suspects” can be financially bankrupted and emotionally wrecked by the incessant demands for documentary information, interviews by federal agents, requests for grand-jury testimony, and so on. The Justice Department can stretch the vexatious process out for years. Innocent people can be pressured to plead guilty, just as innocent businesses and even municipal police departments can be browbeaten into signing intrusive settlements (“consent decrees”), just to get the unbearable, prohibitively expensive process over with.
What you rarely hear about, though, is the other side of this coin: Just as the investigative process can be made the worst nightmare of a rogue administration’s foes, it can be a lifesaver for that administration’s friends. To cut to the chase: The Justice Department never has to make a decision, never has to say “yes” or “no” to an indictment.
No matter how much evidence the FBI gathers, prosecutors can always say they are not ready to present the case to the grand jury until this or that tangential lead has been run down. No matter how much media and public interest there is in the progress of an investigation, prosecutors can always say that grand-jury secrecy rules and the integrity of the evidence-gathering process dictate that the Justice Department make no public comment while potential charges are being considered . . . and considered . . . and considered . . .
The Clinton e-mail scheme has always been about avoiding accountability, about denying the public a window into Hillary Clinton’s disastrous decision-making, her deceptive public pronouncements, and the promiscuous interplay between State Department and Clinton Foundation business. The goal was to keep Secretary of State Clinton’s communications from the public until after the 2016 election, at which point President Clinton would be well positioned to bury them permanently.
Now, the goal is in sight. To pull the scheme off, all Clinton needs is for the current (and future?) attorney general to stonewall for another eight months. Don’t forget: The Obama Justice Department has been stonewalling on the egregious Fast and Furious investigation — in which a federal agent was murdered — for over five years. You don’t think Lynch can tap dance for eight months?
The question is, Will the public, the media, and the Republican-controlled Congress let her do it behind the Clintonian curtain?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Washington Examiner
Clinton's fictional reassurance from the FBI
By Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton is behaving like she has the Democratic nomination sewn up. She is threatening to stop debating her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. And no less an authority on Democratic politics than David Plouffe, President Obama's successful former campaign manager, thinks it's in the bag already.
It is probably true; the betting odds of Sanders winning the nomination are 10-to-1 against on the first online betting site we checked, which seems about right. But that doesn't mean Democratic voters feel good about nominating someone who has been caught lying again and again. Sanders may not be able to close the delegate gap with victories like the five he enjoyed last week, but there is a good reason his campaign didn't peter out long ago, and why he wins by such enormous margins among Democratic voters who cite honesty and integrity as the most important qualities in a candidate.
The FBI acknowledged in court on Friday, in response to a freedom of information request, that it has not contacted Clinton regarding its investigation of her mishandling of classified information. This is interesting, because Clinton said in a town hall meeting earlier this month that she had been informed by the FBI that she is not a target in the investigation. She offered this in the way of reassurance to Democrats that this investigation will not escalate during the campaign season, possibly throwing the presidency to the GOP nominee.
Should voters believe the FBI that it has not contacted Clinton, or should they believe her that it has? The question answers itself; the law enforcement agency or the proven fabricator? Not difficult.
Clinton has already claimed that she did not email or host classified information on the private system run from the non-secured server she kept in her basement. "I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail," she said. "I'm certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material."
This turned out to be false. Although she has tried to object that much of the material was not "marked" classified when sent, both federal law and her own non-disclosure agreement explicitly note that this is not a meaningful distinction.
Clinton has also repeatedly maintained that "there was no law ... there was no regulation" preventing what she did. This is also untrue. Although the occasional use of private email for some government work is not strictly forbidden, both law and regulation forbade her from hiding her work product from Congress and the public by keeping these records at home for (in the case of the earliest ones) up to five years after they were created.
As secretary, it was actually Clinton's duty under the law to make sure her entire department's work product was available for fulfilling congressional and freedom of information requests, which obviously she did not do.
It is also clearly against the law to store classified federal government information on an insecure server in one's home, and again, it is immaterial whether that information has been "marked" classified. Clinton was well aware of this as she sent and received hundreds of emails containing classified information.
All this scandal, and all of these false statements, all because Clinton didn't want to live under the same rules as the little people who work in government.
So the FBI had not spoken to Clinton as of last week. What we know now is that the bureau will be speaking to her soon. It's impossible to say where this will lead. Perhaps it will lead nowhere except to her nomination. But Democratic voters still have a choice, and Clinton should debate him.