On Tuesday, Judge Stephen Williams, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, reversed a lower court’s ruling in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, and said two U.S. government agencies should have done more to recover the emails from her private server.
According to Reuters, this ruling revives one of a number of legal challenges involving Clinton’s handling of government emails when she was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, used a private email server housed at her New York home to handle State Department emails. She handed over 55,000 emails to U.S. officials probing that system, but did not release about 30,000 she said were personal and not work related.
While the State Department and National Archives took steps to recover the emails from Clinton’s tenure, they did not ask the U.S. attorney general to take enforcement action. Two conservative groups filed lawsuits to force their hand.
A district judge in January ruled the suits brought by Judicial Watch and Cause of Action moot, saying State and the National Archives made a “sustained effort” to recover and preserve Clinton’s records.
Judge Williams says the two agencies should have done more, and since neither of the agencies asked the attorney general for help and such enforcement action could not uncover new emails, the case was not moot.
“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,” Williams wrote. “Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.”
“Because the complaints sought recovery of emails from all of the former Secretary’s accounts, the FBI’s recovery of a server that hosted only one account does not moot the suits,” Williams wrote.
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