Judge slams government lawyers, orders more discovery in Clinton FOIA case

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While the majority of the media and even much of the country have largely moved on from concerns over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of an unsecured private email server to conduct government business, the folks at Judicial Watch have doggedly continued to dig for answers in the case, with the help of the federal district judge overseeing the process.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth recently granted a request from Judicial Watch for even more discovery in the case and slammed attorneys from the Justice and State Departments for their apparent efforts to slow walk, if not shut down completely, the effort to get to the bottom of the Clinton email saga.

Judge grows impatient

In an op-ed for Breitbart by Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, portions of the transcript of the recent hearing were shared to highlight Judge Lamberth’s increasing impatience with the manner in which the government lawyers have handled this years-old case thus far.

The case actually dates back to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the watchdog group in 2014 seeking documents related to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. It was that inquiry that led to the discovery of Clinton’s private email server in 2015, and it was the Obama administration’s efforts to cover that discovery up that has led us to where we are today.

It was recently revealed in a Senate investgation that, despite ongoing insistence to the contrary, there were in fact copies of the purportedly “missing” emails from Clinton’s server, emails that had never been properly searched in accordance with federal records laws. Judge Lamberth encouraged Judicial Watch to “shake this tree” and continue the pursuit of the truth.

The judge also called out the government attorneys for their apparent prioritization of “political expedience” and the “bureaucratic incompetence” evidenced by their handling of the FOIA requests and demands for discovery in the case to date.

He further blasted those lawyers for making “preposterous” arguments and for assuming that prior discovery granted in the case had been closed and that the cooperation of the departments was no longer required, a mistaken perception the judge quickly and brutally corrected by suggesting the attorneys had been acting in “bad faith.”

Discovery continues

The transcript of the hearing reveals that Judge Lamberth made it very clear that he never did close the discovery portion of the case and that the two departments still needed to provide all requested documentation and facilitate depositions requested by Judicial Watch. The judge then ran through a timeline highlighting all of the various ongoing efforts by the government to knowingly slow walk or stymie those requests since 2014.

Lamberth also also listed a number of outstanding concerns and questions raised by Judicial Watch and all but accused the attorneys and their respective departments of purposefully covering up and refusing to turn over certain information that had been lawfully requested, if not already ordered to be turned over by the court itself.

“When I authorized discovery back in December, I described my goal: to rule out egregious government misconduct and vindicate the public’s faith in the State and Justice Departments. That’s still my goal today,” Lamberth said. “This isn’t a case I relish, but it’s the case before me now, and it’s a case of the government’s making.”

As such, the judge granted additional discovery to Judicial Watch and gave attorneys representing Clinton and former top aide Cheryl Mills 30 days to formally oppose requested depositions.

In other words, the Judge Lamberth has grown tired of the government’s attempts to delay and obstruct and has made it plain that he expects the government to quit stalling and fully comply so that the truth about the Clinton emails may finally be known.

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