So it is fitting that in this, the year’s final Weekly Update, I have a report for you on a new major court decision that could dramatically influence what comes next on the Clinton email scandal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made a ruling this week in a JW case that would require Secretary of State John Kerry to seek the help of the attorney general in recovering additional Hillary Clinton emails. This means that Clinton email issue will be squarely before the Trump administration, as I highlight in our statement to the press:
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.The appellate ruling reverses a decision in which the District Court declared “moot” a Judicial Watch’s lawsuit challenging the failure of Secretary of State John Kerry to comply with the Federal Records Act (FRA) in seeking to recover the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high level State Department officials who used non-“state.gov” email accounts to conduct official business (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. John F. Kerry (No. 16-5015)).
According to the FRA, if an agency head becomes aware of “any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal . . . or destruction of [agency] records,” he or she “shall notify the Archivist . . . and with the assistance of the Archivist shall initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of [those] records.” Kerry refused to do this, and we sued. The lower court decided Kerry had done enough. The appeals court panel disagreed:
Appellants sought the only relief provided by the Federal Records Act—an enforcement action through the Attorney General. But nothing the Department did (either before or after those complaints were filed) gave appellants what they wanted. Instead of proceeding through the Attorney General, the Department asked the former Secretary to return her emails voluntarily and similarly requested that the FBI share any records it obtained. Even though those efforts bore some fruit, 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. It is therefore abundantly clear that, in terms of assuring government recovery of emails, appellants have not “been given everything [they] asked for.” Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.In May 2015, we filed the lawsuit after the State Department failed to take action following a letter to Kerry “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the FRA,” including working through the attorney general to recover the emails.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit subsequently was consolidated with a later lawsuit filed by our friends at the Cause of Action Institute. For more on this court development, you can see our discussion over at the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. And then we also have our Facebook Live Weekly Updatediscussions here and on Youtube.
This Obama administration has demonstrated itself to be an agent of lawlessness and an enemy of an open and transparent republic. To start, let’s hope that President-elect Trump’s appointees at the State Department and Justice Department finally start enforcing the rule of law on the Clinton email scandal.
For a couple that has spent eight years apologizing for their country, the Obamas have nevertheless managed to enjoy its taxpayer-provided bounty.
This week, thanks to the work of our intrepid investigators and hard-charging lawyers, we released to the public several reports from the Secret Service and the Air Force that bring the known total of Obama travel expense over the past eight years to a staggering $96,938,882.51.
The new reports contain details of the costs of Obama’s Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades, a political fundraising trip to San Diego, Michelle’s annual Aspen ski trip, her trip to Morocco, the family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, as well as Hillary’s ride with Obama on Air Force One to North Carolina.
We received this information after filing two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits, asking the court to enjoin the Secret Service from withholding responsive documents from Judicial Watch (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-01983)) and (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00863)). The Secret Service is a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Obamas’ notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service. JW estimates that the final costs of Obama’s unnecessary vacation and political travel will well exceed $100 million. You can see how President-elect Trump can immediately save taxpayers money by reforming presidential travel.
This Christmas week is a slow one for what already is a dangerously somnolescent government here in Washington. But your Judicial Watch is always on the alert. Yesterday, our Corruption Chronicles blog detailed the latest discomforting news about the terrorism crisis caused by nation’s open borders:
Latin America is a hotbed of Islamic terrorism where groups like ISIS and Hezbollah operate freely and raise large sums of money to finance terrorist activities in other countries, mainly the United States, according to a new report released by Spain’s Defense Ministry.You can see how the typical Washington debate about border security is ludicrous. Talk of “dreamers” and illegal aliens doing jobs Americans supposedly won’t is designed to distract us from enforcing the rule of law at our border and stopping those who want nothing more than to destroy our civilization.
As blizzards settle in on our Great Plains, one forecaster sees a deep freeze in the Lower 48 reaching as far as Florida, in the first week of the New Year.
I think of a particularly beautiful Christmas carol: “In The Bleak Midwinter. ” Here is the first verse:
In the bleak midwinterThis carol is actually about the coming of the Christ Child on a midwinter night, the ultimate expression of hope in a dark and wintry world.
I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than with this type of hope – not the phony “hope” we hear so much about from politicians.
So, on behalf of all of my colleagues here at Judicial Watch, I wish you and your families a most wonderful, prosperous – and truly hopeful – New Year.
Until next week...