The Obama White House knew about the Hillary Clinton classified-information scandal earlier than previously admitted and tried to cover it up, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch.
The documents, obtained from the State Department through court-ordered discovery, “suggest the Obama White House knew about the Clinton email lies being told to the public at least as early as December 2012,” the watchdog group said.
A federal court granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton emails “because the court wanted answers about a government cover-up of the Clinton emails.”
“And now we have answers, because it looks like the Obama White House orchestrated the Clinton email cover-up,” Judicial Watch said.
WND reported in April a senior FBI official, E.W. Priestap, admitted under oath the bureau found emails sent from Clinton’s unsecured server in President Obama’s executive office in the White House.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time that the confirmation made under oath showed that the
Obama FBI had to go to President Obama’s White House office “to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people.”
Fitton was referring to the more than 30,000 emails under subpoena that were thoroughly deleted through an application called BleachBit by order of Clinton’s State Department team.
When then FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 that the FBI had decided not to refer criminal charges in the case, he nevertheless said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information.
More than 100 emails on her server contained classified information, including 65 emails deemed “Secret” and 22 “Top Secret.” Another 2,093 emails were retroactively marked classified by the State Department.
Regarding the latest revelation, Judicial Watch noted Clinton was Obama’s “heir apparent to the White House, “and in addition to protecting her from the inquiry into her unsecured email, Obama’s Justice Department spied on Donald Trump’s campaign.”
In 2012, months after the Obama White House got involved in the email scandal, Judicial Watch said, the State Department responded to the group requesting the information, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, by “falsely stating that no such records existed.”
In a Dec. 20, 2012, email with the subject line “Need to track down a FOIA request from CREW,” Sheryl L. Walter, director of the State Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services, wrote to IPS officials Rosemary D. Reid and Patrick D. Scholl and their assistants:
WH called – have we received a FOIA request from CREW (Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington) on the topic of personal use of email by senior officials? Apparently other agencies have. If we have it, can you give me the details so I can call the WH back? I think they’d like it on quick turnaround. Thanks! Sheryl
In the same email chain, Walter, on Dec. 20, 2012, also emailed Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s White House liaison, describing the CREW FOIA request:
Hi Heather – Copy attached, it was in our significant weekly FOIA report that we send to L and S/ES also. Do you want us to add you to that list? It’s a subset of things like this that we think likely to be of broader Department interest. More detail below re this request. As a practical matter given our workload, it won’t be processed for some months. Let me know if there are any particular sensitivities. If we don’t talk later, happy holidays! All the best, Sheryl
Sheryl: The request is assigned Case #F-2012-40981. It was received on 12/6/2012 and acknowledged on 12/10/2012. The request is assigned for processing.
On Jan. 10, 2013, Walter wrote to Samuelson saying she is not including “personal” accounts in the FOIA request search:
Hi Heather – did you ever get any intell re what other agencies are doing re this FOIA request that seeks records about the number of email accounts associated with the Secretary (but isn’t specifying “personal” email accounts so we are interpreting as official accounts only). We are considering contacting the requester to find out exactly what it is they are looking for. Do you have any-concerns about that approach?
Soon afterward, Samuelson responds: “White House Counsel was looking into this for me. I will circle back with them now to see if they have further guidance.”
CREW’s general counsel, Anne Weismann, submitted a FOIA request to the State Department on Dec. 6, 2012, seeking “records sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.”
On May 10, 2013, [Information Programs and Services] replied to CREW, stating that “no records responsive to your request were located.”
Judge: ‘One of the gravest modern offenses’
Judicial Watch said its discovery is centered on whether or not Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act by using a non-government email system. And it wants to know whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing its FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, Clinton aides and FBI official Priestap to be deposed or answer written questions under oath.
The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
The State Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a report in January 2016 saying that at the time “the request was received, dozens of senior officials throughout the Department, including members of Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff, exchanged emails with the Secretary using the personal accounts she used to conduct official business.’
Also, the inspector general “found evidence that [Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills] was informed of the request at the time it was received.”