Federal Appeals Court Revives Hillary Email Case Leaving Key Decision To Trump's Attorney General
A federal appeals court for the District of Columbia has breathed new life into the Hillary email-gate scandal which will be music to the ears of Trump’s “lock her up” supporters. The case was filed by watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Cause of Action seeking to force the State Department to instruct the Department of Justice to file a federal records suit to recover Hillary’s missing emails. A lower court had previously ruled that the State Department’s efforts to recover Hillary’s emails were sufficient and threw the cases out. But D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams, a Ronald Reagan appointee, had a different view. Per The Hill:
U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg had previously ruled that state’s efforts to recover the documents — tens of thousands of which Clinton turned over voluntarily in 2014 — were sufficient and threw out the cases.
But the three-judge appeals court panel on Tuesday said that State had not done enough.
“Even though those efforts bore some fruit, the Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder — e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General — might not bear more still,” D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote in the court’s opinion. “It is therefore abundantly clear that, in terms of assuring government recovery of emails, appellants have not ‘been given everything [they] asked for.”
“Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.”
While the new opinion acknowledges that DOJ involvement would be rendered moot if the defendants could provide definitive proof that additional efforts wouldn’t result in the recovery of additional emails, it also highlights that no such “factual support” has been presented to date.
Tuesday’s ruling does not order the State Department to make the referral to the DOJ — nor does it obligate DOJ to sue Clinton if presented with a referral.
But the language of the ruling does appear to suggest that the court considers the possibility that the DOJ’s involvement could uncover more emails.
“While the case might well also be moot if a referral were pointless (e.g., because no imaginable enforcement action by the Attorney General could lead to recovery of the missing emails), the record here provides no factual support for finding mootness on that basis,” Williams wrote.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton praised the ruling saying that it is now up to the Trump administration to determine whether they would like to “finally enforce the rule of law and try to retrieve all the emails Clinton and her aides unlawfully took with them when they left the State Department.”
“The courts seem to be fed up with the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the rule of law on the Clinton emails,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement.
“This ruling means that the Trump Justice Department will have to decide if it wants to finally enforce the rule of law and try to retrieve all the emails Clinton and her aides unlawfully took with them when they left the State Department.”
Of course, Trump has waffled on the issue of pursuing Hillary’s latest scandal any further. After once telling her during a debate that she’d “be in jail” if he were President, Trump has since said that he has no interest in hurting the Clintons…a stance that we suspect may anger some of his supporters.
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