A federal judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a case Thursday which would have compelled the State Department and the U.S. archivist to continue searching for emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state in which she used a private email server and address.
According to Western Journal, on Thursday, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, rejected a demand that the State Department and U.S. archivist keep looking for more Clinton emails.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the suit was based on the Federal Records Act, a federal law instituted in 1950 that, according to the National Archives, “establishes the framework for records management programs in Federal Agencies.”
Cause of Action and Judicial Watch, both government oversight groups, had attempted to use this act to claim that the government archivists must work with the Attorney General’s office to recover the Clinton emails that were not in the government’s possession.
The lawsuit had been dismissed once before, but was brought back to Boasberg on appeal.
Boasberg ruled that past efforts by the FBI were sufficient, and that information submitted by Judicial Watch and Cause for Action “cast no real doubt on that conclusion.”
“Those efforts went well beyond the mine-run search for missing federal records … and were largely successful, save for some emails sent during a two-month stretch. Even then, the FBI pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails,” Boasberg wrote, as reported by The Washington Times.
“The Court of Appeals may have asked the Government to ‘shak(e) the tree harder’ for more emails, but it never suggested that the FBI must shake every tree in every forest, without knowing whether they are fruit trees,” he continued.
Politico detailed more of Boasberg’s 26-page ruling that struck down the chances of another investigation.
“The Attorney General’s investigative arm joins Defendants’ conclusion that there are no remaining emails for State to recover,” Boasberg wrote. “The FBI so concluded as part of an investigation related to national security, in which it had every incentive to ‘shake the tree’ with all its might.”
Boasberg added that attempting to utilize the Federal Records Act to revisit an already extensive investigation does more harm than good.
“It strains credulity that the Attorney General would implement a more exhaustive search in response to a federal-records request,” he wrote.
Boasberg said that in the course of searching for Clinton’s emails, which produced 55,000 pages of records; the FBI interviewed her senior staff, contacted four service providers, and reviewed two phones and three iPads.
Neither plaintiff was happy with the ruling.
“The fact that this case was dismissed does not absolve Secretary Clinton or show that all of her unlawfully removed email records have been recovered,” Cause of Action President John Vecchione said in a press release.
“In fact, the Court’s decision shows that Secretary Clinton violated the Federal Records Act and that a subset of her work-related emails remains missing,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the Court concluded that efforts by the FBI in its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s handling of classified material, which resulted in the recovery of numerous emails that Clinton had not previously turned over, left nothing further for the Attorney General to do,” he said.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said he had expected that the Trump administration would be more helpful than the Obama administration in hunting for Clinton’s emails, but that this has not been the case.
“I think the president, once he learns about this, is going to blow his top and he ought to,” Fitton said.
“I think most significant aspect of the whole situation is — and the court highlighted this — although the administrations have changed, the stance has remained the same. It is shocking and upsetting that the Trump Justice and Trump State Departments are refusing to do anything about getting Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails,” he said.
This particular lawsuit has taken an unusual track. It was originally dismissed by Judge Boasberg in December of 2016, only to have that dismissal reversed by an appeals court. However, when Boasberg applied the standards set by the appeals court, he still found the case to be “moot” and agreed for this second dismissal.
The lawsuit also drew attention in March of this year, when the State Department argued again for dismissal of the case, even though the administration of the department had changed hands from former President Barack Obama to President Trump’s administration.