Issues & Insights

Re: Those Hillary Emails — What Did The Obama Administration Know And When Did It Know It?

Hillary Clinton
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I&I Editorial

Judicial Watch, which eagerly wades into inquiries federal investigators won’t touch, reported last week that the Obama White House might have orchestrated a cover-up of the Hillary Clinton emails. With Nixon, they told us the cover-up was worse than the crime. That might not be the case here. But it’s a close race.

The Obama administration was apparently tracking a Freedom of Information Act request pursuing records related to then-Secretary of State Clinton’s use of an unsecured, non-government email system as early as 2012, says Judicial Watch.

“These documents suggest the Obama White House knew about the Clinton email lies being told to the public at least as early as December 2012,” says Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.

Then “months after the Obama White House involvement, the State Department responded to the requestor, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, falsely stating that no such records existed.”

The records were found in a cache of documents Judicial Watch had received from a court-ordered discovery “centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act by using a nongovernment email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing Judicial Watch’s FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.”

Maybe Clinton kept her emails on a private server for legitimate reasons. But what those could possibly be are a mystery. It seems far more likely that it was, as Judicial Watch and many others have suggested, an effort to keep her communications secret rather than open, which is in violation of the spirit if not the letter of the law.

As has been documented, Clinton could face a prison sentence if she’s found to have violated the Espionage Act with her private email server. While a coverup rigged by the “scandal-free” Obama administration is certainly outrageous, Clinton’s initial actions are worse. U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, who’s been handling Judicial Watch’s requests, has called her email arrangement “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

“Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as secretary of State to thwart” the “lofty goal” of transparency, Lamberth asked in a December 2018 opinion.

But let’s not excuse the Obama administration’s attempt to stonewall transparency. That’s not the way our government works — or is supposed to work. As Lamberth has written, “in responding to requests under FOIA, executive branch agencies . . . should act promptly, and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.”

That truth of that last clause has escaped both the Obama administration and the Clinton political machine. They see themselves as masters.

— Written by J. Frank Bullitt

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Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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