If Hillary was drinking morning coffee reading judge’s reasons to re-open email probe, she likely choked

At worst, career employees in the State and Justice departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton...”

A U.S. judge has ordered the Justice and State departments to reopen Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, accusing the agencies of behavior that “smacks of outrageous misconduct.”

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued the order Thursday, noting that despite the government’s insistence otherwise, “faced with one of the gravest modern offenses to government openness, [the Obama administration’s] State and Justice departments fell far short” of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act filing for documents, The Washington Post reported.

According to the Post:

U.S. judge ordered the Justice and State departments Thursday to reopen an inquiry into whether Hillary Clinton used a private email server while secretary of state to deliberately evade public records laws, and to answer whether the agencies acted in bad faith by not telling a court for months that they had asked in mid-2014 for missing emails to be returned.

The order risks reopening partisan wounds that have barely healed since Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid, but in issuing the order Thursday, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act required it.

 

President Donald Trump repeatedly slammed Clinton for not making the emails public during the 2016 campaign. But Lamberth argued that “the current Justice Department made things worse,” by claiming that agencies were under no obligation to find documents that the government did not possess at the time a FOIA request was made.

Although he admitted he did not enjoy “questioning the intentions of the nation’s most august” Cabinet departments, Lamberth felt it was necessary since their response “smacks of outrageous misconduct.”

Months before the March 2015 reports that Clinton had used a private email server while she was secretary of state under former President Obama, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed an FOIA lawsuit. That filing, in July 2014 related to State Department records dealing with the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012.

More from the Washington Post:

Between July 2014 and March 2015, the State Department said in court filings that its document searches were adequate and did not mention unsearched records as it, proposed to settle the case. The agencies later acknowledged that additional searches would be needed, without disclosing that it had received 30,000 emails returned by Clinton.

 

The actions by the government indicate “negligence born of incompetence,” the judge said.

“At worst, career employees in the State and Justice departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this court,” he added.

Additional questions on whether “Clinton used a private email to stymie FOIA, whether State’s attempts to settle the case in 2014 and 2015 amounted to bad faith, and whether State’s subsequent searches have been adequate” will need to be addressed when Judicial Watch meets with the government attorneys on December 17, as Lamberth ordered.

While the judge’s order Thursday could spell trouble for Clinton, it comes on the heels of reports that evidence points to other agencies in the Obama administration also engaged in “really bad and nefarious activity,” according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

An email chain between the FBI and Justice Department apparently provided “the first clear evidence” that a “major crime” was committed under former FBI director James Comey’s watch when officials allegedly lied to federal judges to obtain spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The U.S. District Judge order for the DOJ and State Department to reopen the Clinton email case was hailed on Twitter as something long overdue.

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