A federal judge has reopened a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that aims to obtain e-mails between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her longtime aide, Huma Abedin, saying that the discovery of Clinton’s private server warranted the revival of the case.
Judicial Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group, asked the judge to find that Clinton had committed fraud, but he demurred, choosing instead to rely on a rule that allowed for the case to be reopened due to a change in circumstances. The State Department agreed that this rule applied. “The Court will rely upon that provision, rather than spilling ink to resolve their dispute as to whether Judicial Watch has submitted clear and convincing evidence of fraud by the State Department,” Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in his order today.
Though Sullivan declined to definitively vindicate their fraud accusation, Judicial Watch hailed the ruling as a victory. “The reopening of this case brings Judicial Watch one step closer to forcing the State Department to ensure that the government records in Hillary Clinton’s ‘secret’ email system are properly preserved, protected and recovered as federal law requires,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Ms. Abedin is part of the Clinton cash-raising operation and was even involved in the Benghazi scandal, so this lawsuit could not be more timely.”
Abedin has long served as one of Clinton’s closest aides, but Politico reported in May that she was given “special government employee” status that allowed her to work for outside clients — including one that advises foreign governments — while remaining on the State Department payroll.
She is also the staffer who asked Bill Clinton’s team to allow Hillary Clinton to host her e-mails on a private server that the former president had already established, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “Privately,” that report noted, “aides of the former president worried that adding her account would make the system a target for hackers.”
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.