When the FBI was asked to release files related to Hillary Clinton’s famous 33,000 deleted emails, the bureau insisted the former secretary of state and presidential candidate’s privacy outweighed the “public interest” in disclosing the information.
Now, the lawyer who made the Freedom of Information Act request has filed a complaint in a Maryland court seeking to have Clinton and her lawyers disbarred, and a judge has ordered the state bar to investigate allegations of destroying evidence, the Washington Times reported.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. said Monday the complaints against David E. Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were egregious and the state bar couldn’t dismiss them as frivolous.
The complaint was brought by New York state lawyer Ty Clevenger, who continues to press the FBI to release details of its investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information through a private email server, which violated State Department policy.
Clinton and her associates were allowed to decide which of her 60,000 emails to surrender to the State Department and which would be withheld. About 33,000 being were withheld as “private.” The FBI, however, later found thousands of work-related emails that weren’t turned over to the government.
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The scandal figured prominently in the 2016 election, as Clinton has acknowledged in her new book “What Happened.” Then-FBI director James Comey announced in July 2016 that the bureau would not refer the case to the Justice Department for prosecution, even though Clinton was found to have been “grossly negligent” in her handling of classified material. The FBI insisted “malicious intent” was necessary to prosecute, but legal analysts have pointed out that the relevant statute doesn’t require intent. Further, it was disclosed earlier this month that Comey had prepared his statement exonerating Clinton two months before the announcement, before even interviewing her or her aides. Also, the Obama Justice Department later barred the FBI from asking Mills questions that went to the heart of the emails investigation.
On Monday, the Washington Times reported, Alexis Rohde, a lawyer representing the grievance commission, insisted Clevenger’s complaint was frivolous.
But Judge Harris concluded the rules clearly required the commission to investigate.
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Clevenger: FBI ‘covering up’
In an interview with the Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson last Thursday, Clevenger said that since the FBI’s initial rejection, the Justice Department has granted his appeal.
The Justice Department, he said, conceded that there is a public interest in the information and has expedited his request.
He is asking for relevant documents that Congress has requested or sent to the FBI.
Clevenger said he originally suspected an Obama holdover at FBI was blocking his request, but he changed his mind when Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., disclosed that Comey had already decided to exonerate Clinton before she was even interviewed.
“So, at this point, I think the FBI is trying to cover its own rear end,” Clevenger said.
“They don’t want the documents coming out just showing how badly they covered it up.”
Clevenger agreed that if an average lawyer had destroyed 30,000 pieces of evidence, he would be disbarred and prosecuted criminally.
Clinton told “CBS Sunday Morning” this week that conducting State Department business on an unsecured email server was “the most important of the mistakes I made.”
“I said it before, I’ll say it again, that was my responsibility. It was presented in such a negative way, and I never could get out from under it and it never stopped,” Clinton said.