Just when you thought that the Hillary Clinton email saga was over, a new development surfaced on Tuesday by way of a federal appellate judge’s ruling. Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of conservative groups Judicial Watch and Cause of Action in their lawsuits against the State Department over whether or not enough was done to try to restore Clinton’s missing emails. After it looked like the lawsuits had been squashed, the appeals court revived them.
In January, a District Court judge had thrown out the lawsuits with the reasoning that both the State Department and National Archives had put in a “sustained effort” to recover the emails. In his ruling Williams wrote that this wasn’t enough. “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,” he said. “Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.”
As a result, Williams feels that it’s “abundantly clear that, in terms of assuring government recovery of emails, [Judicial Watch has] not ‘been given everything [they] asked for.’”
In addition, because Clinton continued to use her Blackberry email account for the first few weeks of her term as Secretary of State, Williams felt that efforts to restore just the messages from the private ClintonEmail.com server weren’t enough, either. “Because the complaints sought recovery of emails from all of the former Secretary’s accounts, the FBI’s recovery of a server that hosted only one account does not moot the suits,” the judge wrote.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement:
The courts seem to be fed up with the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the rule of law on the Clinton emails. Today’s appeals court ruling rejects the Obama State Department’s excuses justifying its failure to ask the attorney general, as the law requires, to pursue the recovery of the Clinton emails. 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.