Judge dismisses lawsuits over Clinton emails
A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a pair of lawsuits from conservative groups seeking to force the State Department to continue its search for Hillary Clinton’s emails.
In a 26-page ruling, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg argued that the FBI had already “pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails” from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State, and that there was no evidence to suggest that additional search efforts would uncover more information.
“The Court of Appeals may have asked the Government to ‘shak[e] the tree harder’ for more emails, but it never suggested that the FBI must shake every tree in every forest, without knowing whether they are fruit trees,” Boasberg wrote.
While Clinton’s emails have long been the subject of numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, the pair of lawsuits filed by conservative watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Cause of Action Institute took a different legal route.
The lawsuits sought to force the State Department and National Archives to team up with the attorney general to recover the missing emails under the Federal Records Act, which governs the “creation, management and disposal of federal records.”
Boasberg’s ruling on Thursday was the second time he’s dismissed the lawsuits. After issuing a ruling on the matter last year, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the lawsuits, saying the State Department had not done enough to recover Clinton’s emails.
Boasberg’s latest ruling said that the FBI had since provided more thorough details on efforts to find the emails, and that there is no evidence to suggest that any more existing emails would be able to be recovered.
“Plaintiffs, significantly, cast no real doubt on that conclusion,” he wrote. “So now, when the Government avers that there are no enforcement steps left for the Attorney General, the Court takes such conclusion seriously.”
Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department was the subject of an FBI probe that ended last year without charges being filed. But the emails — particularly whether classified information was potentially exposed — has been the subject of intense interest from conservative groups, Republican lawmakers and President Trump.
Trump has reportedly pressed the State Department recently to accelerate its release of whatever Clinton emails it has in its possession. But that push also comes amid calls by the president and some congressional Republicans to open up new investigations into Clinton.