On Thursday, a federal judge ordered further investigation into officials’ handling of Hillary Clinton’s private email server during her four-year tenure as secretary of state. Her use of an unapproved, unsecured private email server, he said in the blistering ruling, is “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
The ruling revolves around a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by a conservative government watchdog. Judicial Watch, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled Thursday, should be given access to documents and be permitted to acquire additional testimony about Clinton’s use of a private server and officials’ failure to be transparent about information searches related to it.
When Judicial Watch filed its FOIA suit in July 2014 over the State Department’s false talking points on the Benghazi attack, the judge notes, officials knew that Clinton’s private emails were missing from its records. “State played this card close to its chest,” he wrote. “At best, State’s attempts to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA and hoodwink this court.”
Politico notes that Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan-appointee and a judge who “sparred” at times with the Clinton administration, is critical not only of the past administration but of the Trump administration for failing to adequately follow through on this crucial case.