Federal Court Orders Discovery Into The Clinton Emails And Suggests The Possibility of Subpoenas To Force Disclosures

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghazisullivanU.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sent shockwaves through Washington yesterday by ruling that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton will be subject to discovery on whether they intentionally violated federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The case opens up another front for Clinton who is facing rising criticism over her decision to exclusively use her own private server for communications as Secretary of State — a decision that gave her control over her email system but exposed classified information to interception. The State Department supplied a secure system for her use but Clinton opted not to use that system. Over 1,700 emails on Clinton’s private email system have been classified (22 at the highest level of “top secret”). While Clinton insists that the information was not marked classified at the time, that is not the test under federal law. Yet, this case concerns the use of the private server to circumvent open record laws. The court also indicated that it may order subpoenas for Clinton officials in light to the failure to fully disclose information. Sullivan, who I have appeared before regularly over the last two decades, is a widely respected judge and a Clinton appointee.

Sullivan set an April deadline for parties to work out an investigative plan and suggested that subpoenas may be necessary to produce all records related to Clinton’s private account. Clinton deleted tens of thousands of emails that her staff deemed private. Sullivan expressed frustration with both the State Department and the Clinton camp, saying that the poor handling of these emails has created “at least a ‘reasonable suspicion’” that public access to official government records under the federal Freedom of Information Act has been disregarded. He emphasized that “this case is about the public’s right to know.”

Sullivan noted that it is not clear that senior State Department officials were aware that Clinton had decided not to use the protected or secure State Department system. He cited a January 2009 email exchange including Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, Clinton chief of staff Cheryl D. Mills and Huma Abedin about establishing a “stand-alone network” email system. Now that it is also confirmed that top secret information was discussed on Clinton’s private server, any discovery is likely to cause both political and legal problems for the Clinton camp. First, any depositions might result in refusals to testify by key officials. The invocation of Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination would have significant political impacts. After all, no one would suggest that Sullivan is part of a right-wing conspiracy or runaway investigation. The refusal to testify would reflect the real danger of tripping the wire on federal classification laws as well as more general concerns that statements conflicting statements with those government investigators could trigger charges under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Second, depositions raise the explosive potential of an aide admitting that the email system was understood to be an effort to retain control of the email system and evade federal laws. Many have assumed that the exclusive use of a private server was part of a long-standing habit of the Clinton to closely control information. A declaration confirming that assumed purpose would directly contradict Clinton and present both legal and political risks for her and her aides.

Yet, while putting a possible torpedo in the water, it is a still a relatively slow-moving torpedo. It could take months to agree on the plan and then order any depositions or disclosures. Indeed, the primary is likely to be largely, if not completely, finished before damaging evidence would come out of that process.

Source: Washington Post

42 thoughts on “Federal Court Orders Discovery Into The Clinton Emails And Suggests The Possibility of Subpoenas To Force Disclosures”

  1. Do you think there is a reason why Donald Trump is now repeating the statement that his supporters would stay with him even if he murdered someone? The Donald is no dummy. He is expecting his followers to learn something very bad about him in the not too distant future and wants them to be thinking that they should keep supporting him even though he has done something very bad.

    Hey, it’s ok to support The Donald even though he did something very bad. Because he can do ANYTHING and take care of ANY problem. Just follow him (right over the cliff).

    Hey I just figured out what that furball is on top of his head. It’s a lemming! Donald Trump, Lemming in Chief.

  2. I recall they recently re-played Clinton in an interview claiming that a report that the Clinton Foundation was under investigation for using the State Department for favors was “sourceless and without merit.” This was after she already was aware that State had been subpoenaed about exactly that allegation.

    This lady is a confirmed, repeated liar. People go to jail for mishandling classified information. That’s just the reality. Of course her emails were not marked classified at the time – if she originated them, she would not have given them that designation. That is a lawyer’s defense.

    I doubt the DOJ would move on her. The law will prove inapplicable to Clinton.

    In any case, I hope they determine whether they will file charges quickly, because the Democratic Party needs to know if they need to have other candidates run. As it stands, Hillary Clinton is getting the lioness’ share of Super Delegates, regardless of the outcomes of various caucuses.

    This has been a crazy election year. On the one hand, we have a confirmed liar who may go to jail for mishandling classified information and wiping her server clean to try to hide her crime, and a confirmed socialist whose economic policy is deemed by other Liberals to be “magic flying puppies with Lotto tickets tied to their collars”, and on the other a megalomaniac claiming to be a conservative who was a Liberal last year.

    We are so screwed.

  3. For the Clintonistas trying to change the subject. This is a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch for access to emails that ARE PUBLIC RECORD. The President who said he would run “The most transparent administration” has run one that would make Nixon proud. The reply to request for PUBLIC INFORMATION by Judicial Watch was stonewalled. It was as a result of this record request and subsequent lawsuit to compel the administration to COMPLY W/ THE LAW that we learned of the Clinton server stored in a bathroom in CT. There is info in the emails that Clinton, learning the feces was about to hit the fan, tried to hand pick a sycophant Inspector General. She is a corrupt, lying sack o’ sh!t and will never be President. Nor should she.

  4. This judge wants the 30,000 non-governmental emails from Hillary. From what I have read he has done several FOIA cases and is an old hand at this. He can see a govt. stall before it starts.

  5. @Donald our next president Trump: Obama was not the “First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in” because states do not issue Social Security numbers. The Social Security Administration, a bureau of the federal government, issues those numbers, and no matter you live you may use any SSA office in any state when you apply for the number.

    He was certainly not the “First President to violate the War Powers Act,” since it has been violated by pretty much every president who has held office since the act was passed.

    While I am no fan of Obama and would unhesitatingly accuse him of war crimes, of abusing the military, of lying to the public and of having made this nation less safe, most of the rest of your assertions have as little basis in fact as the two I cited above.

  6. Obama is the first President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.
    • First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
    • First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.
    • First President to violate the War Powers Act.
    • First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
    • First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.
    • First President to spend a trillion dollars on “shovel-ready” jobs when there was no such thing as “shovel-ready” jobs.
    • First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.
    • First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.
    • First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.
    • First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.
    • First President to tell a CEO of a major corporation (Chrysler) to resign.
    • First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.
    • First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer and to say that America is no longer a Christian nation. • First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.
    • First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.
    • First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases.
    • First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.
    • First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).
    • First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.
    • First President to actively try to bankrupt an American industry (coal). • First President to fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.
    • First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. • First President to surround himself with radical left wing anarchists.
    • First President to golf more than 150 separate times in his five years in office.
    • First President to hide his birth, medical, educational and travel records.
    • First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.
    • First President to go on multiple “global apology tours” and concurrent “insult our friends” tours.
    • First President to go on over 17 lavish vacations, in addition to date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayers.
    • First President to have personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife. • First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.
    • First President to fly in a personal trainer from Chicago at least once a week at taxpayer expense.
    • First President to repeat the Holy Quran and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.
    • First President to side with a foreign nation over one of the American 50 states (Mexico vs Arizona).
    • First President to tell the military men and women that they should pay for their own private insurance because they “volunteered to go to war and knew the consequences.”
    • Then he was the First President to tell the members of the military that THEY were UNPATRIOTIC for balking at the last suggestion. (Glad he didn’t get away with THIS one.)
    • Hillary Clinton broke the law and Obama won’t even have his justice department bring charges against her.

    The last 8 years will be remembered as the most corrupt in the history of the United States.

  7. When Clinton and Trump square off for the main event, there are going to be some happy campers on this blog; some wackos but happy wackos nevertheless.

  8. I said it once and I’ll say it again, Hilly skates free. If they find Judge Crater in her closet they would charge him with breaking and entering. This woman should never be allowed to run for dog catcher.

  9. “…Second, depositions raise the explosive potential of an aide admitting that the email system was understood to be an effort to retain control of the email system and evade federal laws. Many have assumed that the exclusive use of a private server was part of a long-standing habit of the Clinton to closely control information. A declaration confirming that assumed purpose would directly contradict Clinton and present both legal and political risks for her and her aides…”

    Whoever is this aide to Hillary: he/whe takes the 5th Amendment to avoid incriminating someone higher up the food chain on Hillary’s staff. The Federal attorney gives him/her immunity. So he/she has to testify or do prison time.

    It will never get that far. The day after this person gets their subpoena he/she should prepare for their dirt nap. Hillary will put this person down faster than a sick dog.

    Possibly a strange vehicle accident, shot guy blast to the back of the head (declared a suicide), a nail gun accident, etc, etc. The CIA already developed a “heart attack” machine. Check the record of strange deaths associated with almost every one of the Clinton’s associates from their Arkansas days. It reads like a Twilight Zone story.

    If you dine with the devil, bring a long fork.

  10. davebarclay – It would’ve come out sooner if she had not ignored the FOIA request made by Judicial Watch.
    Since when is it legal to have a private server with no security walls to send top secret emails?

    How can this be brought up to discredit Hillary, if she’s the one who discredited herself. smh

  11. May be a warm (vs hot) torpedo, just hope it runs straight and normal into the Hillary-naught constructed of so much baling wire and gum holding together a vessel whose bilge pumps are barely keeping up. Sadly the sinking will leave a lot of others for the sharks. If it somehow survives and becomes the ship-of-state, it will make Nixon look like a paragon of virtue in the end.

  12. Why is this necessary now? I’m confused as to why the emails are not being treated as private when they allegedly contain top secret information. Surely the information is best left hidden rather than being brought into the public domain? Or has this been brought up now just to discredit Hilary’s latest campaign for the White House? Just exactly whose interest is this in?

  13. I hope he has body guards or he’ll end up sleeping with a pillow on his head with a RIP on it. The Clintons are dangerous people and Obama is right there with them.
    God Bless this judge for trying to scatter the roaches with sunlight.

  14. The judge’s order doesn’t make any sense. He reportedly said, “this case is about the public’s right to know,” pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. Is he suggesting that the public has the right to know the contents of top-secret State Dept documents? If so, then the documents are obviously not confidential, and the government is wasting taxpayer money with this investigation.

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