House panel refers Clinton server company for prosecution

House panel refers Clinton server company for prosecution
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The House Science Committee has referred the CEO of a IT firm behind Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman MORE's private email server to the Department of Justice for prosecution, the committee announced Thursday.

The committee believes Treve Suazo, the chief executive officer of Platte River Networks, may be guilty of failing to produce subpoenaed documents, making false statements to Congress and obstructing its investigation.

Of the three companies involved in the Clinton home email server, committee aides said, Platte River was the only one not to comply with subpoenas. 

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"[Platte River] flatly refused to cooperate with our investigation," said a House Science Committee aide. 

A referral letter sent to theAttorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE, signed by committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas), states that Platte River ultimately provided no documents whatsoever. 

The Clinton email server was a Republican focal point throughout the presidential campaign. Multiple investigations, in and out of Congress, looked at if the former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate broke a law by using a private server for unclassified email, willfully sent and received classified email on that server and complied fully with subpoenas.

The FBI has long since determined it would not seek charges against Clinton.

But the Science Committee says its focus is not criminal. House Science has jurisdiction over the Federal Information Security Management Act, which governs agencies' use of information technology, and conducts investigations of potential hacking, including recent looks at the Office of Personnel Management and the FDIC. 

House Science Committee aides said the committee first requested documents from the companies involved with Clinton's email server in January of 2016 — requests that were later put on hold pending the FBI investigation. The committee revived the requests in July, sending subpoenas in August. 

On August 23, according to the committee, Platte River replied to the subpoena, saying there were no responsive documents because the company did not work with Clinton during her time in office. 

Committee aides say the subpoena was not limited to Clinton's time in office. 

"We believe Platte purposefully misinterpreted the time frame," said one aide.  

The committee claims to have sent a number of follow-up letters and emails and a second, more narrow, subpoena,all of which were rebuffed. The committee also warned Platte River's counsel that the CEO Suazo risked contempt of Congress charges if the company did not comply.After the second subpoena, according to the referral letter, Suazo sent a "two line" response through counsel: "All PRN employees will be ceasing voluntary cooperation with your committee pursuant to their rights under the Fourth and Fifth amendments."

"This response made little sense," claims the referral letter, "since Mr. Suazo and PRN had never cooperated with the Committee in the first place."

Based on documents provided by other firms in the investigation, the committee believes it can prove Platte River has documents covered by its requests, including ones discussing mismanagement of cybersecurity and others describing attempts to hack the Clinton email server. 

Committee aides denied having any evidence that the server was targeted by foreign intelligence in the "60 to 70" hacking attempts. All servers connected to the internet receive hacking attempts by attackers largely unaware of their target's name, importance or identity. 

Aides believe documents will show that files on the Clinton server might have been protected by lackluster cybersecurity practices. 

Aides said they have "serious concerns" that files on the server were unencrypted — leaving them legible by hackers. The committee alleges that documents taken from one of the other companies involved with the server show a Platte River employee got so fed up with security alerts, he instructed another employee to ignore one.  

The referral, they say, is as much about defending Congress's powers for unencumbered investigation as actually receiving the documents, and are optimistic President Trump's DOJ will follow through on the request. 

"We are hoping under a new administration, this can be more accurately entertained," said an aide.