A federal judge warned the State Department that it will “have to answer for” any destruction of Hillary Clinton email records.
Judicial Watch announced today that a federal judge warned the State Department that it will “have to answer for” any destruction of Hillary Clinton email records. U. S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras made the statement at a July 9, 2015 status conference concerning a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for records about the State Department vetting of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potential conflicts of interest (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00688)). The transcript of the July 9 court hearing is available here.
At the hearing, attorney Chris Fedeli pressed Judicial Watch’s concerns about the preservation of records, especially email records that were not part of the 55,000 pages of records turned over by Mrs. Clinton to the State Department late last year.
In response, Judge Contreras said he was also “concerned” about the preservation of these records:
If documents are destroyed between now and August 17, the government will have to answer for that, and, you know, if they don’t want to do anything out of the ordinary to preserve between now and then, they can make that choice. I will allow them to make that choice, but they will answer for it, if something happens.
After a Justice Department lawyer attempted to assure him that the administration was asking for government records from former State Department employees, Judge Contreras questioned the State Department’s position that it had no legal obligation to take additional steps to obtain other government records in the custody of Mrs. Clinton and other former officials who used her special email system:
[I]t is to state the obvious that this is not an ordinary case, and everyone should be working to make sure that whatever documents exist today remain in existence.
Judge Contreras also voiced concerns regarding the State Department’s refusal to provide any information about the Clinton email issue:
But I am a little bit mystified that the government is not more forthcoming in just answering questions that will help this case proceed on a systematic basis, and on a basis that will allow everyone to get the answers that will eventually help resolve these cases…