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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Civil Case Over Hillary's Emails will Hurt More than the FBI

Why a Civil Case Over Emails Could Hurt Hillary Clinton More Than the FBI

Posted 05/17/2016 4:17 pm by PatriotRising with 0 comments

Two top aides will testify

Every year for more than two decades, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed scores of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents from the federal government, many in pursuit of a favorite target: Bill and Hillary Clinton. Now, with FOIA case No. F-2013-08812, they may finally have hit the political jackpot.

Two close Clinton aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, will testify under oath this month and next Judicial Watch announced today. The judge in the case said earlier this month he may force Clinton herself to testify after the first round of interviews is completed. That has set up the prospect of the Democratic front-runner for the White House facing off under oath against one of her most dogged pursuers as early as July, just months before the November election.

It is telling that Judicial Watch’s potentially big win has come not from any dark conspiracy it has uncovered, but from what it has not. The judge has limited the group to a narrow line of inquiry designed to answer a simple question: why did Clinton set up a private server and use it for all her work e-mails as Secretary of State? Clinton says it was matter of convenience, but over the course of the trial, the judge has given credence to the allegation that she was intentionally thwarting the federal laws ensuring government transparency.

And that’s why the messy, drawn out drama over case No. F-2013-08812 matters. Clinton is no stranger to allegations that amount to nothing. From Whitewater to Benghazi her political opponents have tried and failed to find evidence that she committed a crime. A law enforcement official familiar with the separate FBI investigation into how classified information got onto her private server says there is little evidence of a crime there either, though the probe is continuing.

But Clinton may have violated civil law if she intentionally thwarted FOIA or the Federal Records Act, which requires public officials to take a number of steps to preserve and make public their work related documents, according to experts and judges handling the matter in the courts. Which means that for many voters it will be Clinton’s trustworthiness that is on trial in the FOIA case.

Judicial Watch, whose over 20 lawyers and researchers specialize in government records requests, first filed the case that may snare Clinton three years ago. It was seeking information about the simultaneous employment of Hillary Clinton’s long-time aide, Huma Abedin, by the State department, Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation and a consulting firm that built its business providing access to the Clintons. In response, the State department produced eight documents and declared the case closed. That’s standard fare for requests under FOIA, a 1966 law that courts have limited in favor of the government, and Judicial Watch accepted the result.

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