The FBI is being accused of forming a wall around Hillary Clinton over the Clintonemail server. The latest battle happened in court yesterday when the FBI flat-out said no to the State Department on what information could be found on the email server, citing federal policy.
“At this time, consistent with long-standing Department of Justice and FBI policy, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation, nor are we in a position to provide additional information at this time.”
This shouldn’t be surprising because law enforcement tends to be pretty protective into what they’re investigating. The FBI wouldn’t comment on their probe into Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price for about three years before federal prosecutors finally indicted him last year. The problem is they’re being ordered by a federal judge to talk to the State Department. This has caused Judicial Watch to raise legitimate concerns to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on how, and if, the FBI is conducting their investigation into Clinton (emphasis mine).
“We still do not know whether the FBI — or any other government agency for that matter — has possession of the email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department. We also do not know whether the server purportedly in the possession of the FBI — an assumption based on unsworn statements by third parties — is the actual email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department or whether it is a copy of such an email server. Nor do we know whether any copies of the email server or copies of the records from the email server exist.”
Boy wouldn’t THAT be interesting if the server the FBI has isn’t even the real server. That would turn this entire Clintonemail case into a conspiracy straight from a Robert Ludlum or Garth Ennis book. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton went as far as to tell POLITICO the FBI and State Department might as well be in cahoots.
“The FBI has evidently decided to stonewall the court’s legitimate inquiry here and the State Department is going along with it. We’re seeking quick court action to find out where these records might be.”
Sullivan has been sympathetic towards Judicial Watch’s probe and ordered the State Department to pony up information before. But the latest moves by the FBI and State Department are getting under the skin of Republicans. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley thinks the FBI is just ignoring the laws they’re supposed to uphold.
“The FBI is behaving like it’s above the law. Simply refusing to cooperate with a court-ordered request is not an appropriate course of action. This entire case, from Secretary Clinton’s ill-advised decision to use a non-government email server, to the FBI’s investigation about classified information, needs some transparency in order to assure the American people that getting to the bottom of this controversy is a priority.”
One might ask if the Justice Department would be more willing to work with the court if Vice President Joe Biden was going to run for president. Clinton has her backers, but there are people out there who truly believe Biden’s moment has come. Of course a new story seems to hit the Interwebz every day on whether Biden will or won’t hope third time’s a charm on the Democratic presidential nod. So the Justice Department, and by proxy the Obama Administration, may be waiting to find out what Biden will do before moving forward. Who knows, maybe the Justice Department is worried about what documents Clinton may or may not have and would just rather protect themselves from getting egg on their faces. That is a little conspiracy theorist, but with this Clintonemail case what isn’t? It’s right out of a conspiracy novel to have a sitting Secretary of State use her own server, let alone her own email, to do federal government business. It’s also right out of a book for her to make sure her top aides have their own private emails to do business as well. Then to have the server wiped? Well that’s just plain normal for people, right? Right?
The bigger question is how long will this keep playing out? Federal courts can take a long time to get things done so unless Sullivan decides to just toss the case out (and who wouldn’t be surprised if that happened) then it could keep going through the 2016 campaign. There are also at least four other lawsuits going on regarding Clinton’s dealings in the State Department and they’re so convoluted there’s no way to consolidate them all into one without making even more of a mess. So the legal drama will keep playing out and whatever happens will happen. It’s pure entertainment that’s for sure, but whether it affects the 2016 campaign is anyone’s guess. Not to be an Eeyore here, but it probably won’t.
UPDATE: Judge Emmet Sullivan is telling the State Department go get a move on and start processing Clinton’s emails faster than they have been. He ordered (link: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/22/judge-state-find-staffers-process-clinton-emails/print/) the State Department to get all emails from Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills in some kind of electronic system by the end of the week.
“There has to be some reallocation of resources because these are atypical cases.”
This didn’t go too well with the Justice Department who claimed the State Department was understaffed and overworked.
Elizabeth Shapiro, a senior Justice Department lawyer handling many of the more than 30 cases seeking Clinton-related emails, said the administration is doing what it can, but said its employees are already stretched, working “really demoralizing, crushing hours.”
“The State Department is being crushed with obligations,” she said…
The State Department says it has the equivalent of about 63 full-time employees working on the thousands of open-records requests the department gets each year, and those staffers are being pushed to meet tight deadlines, including those imposed by more than a dozen judges now involved in some Clinton email-related cases.
Ms. Shapiro said the department is also concerned that they are giving too much time and attention to cases where someone has sued, saying that ends up stiffing the other requesters who don’t have the resources to go to court.
Sullivan’s answer is brilliant, ”find the resources.” One would think the government would want this to be over and done with as quickly as possible. But again, maybe the Justice and State departments are moving slow in hopes of Biden riding backwards on a white pony to save them all.