Watchdog group files lawsuit against the Justice Department
Political watchdog Judicial Watch is suing the Justice Department in a bid to retrieve emails that were found on disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop by the FBI.
The organization announced that it has sued the U.S. Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the files the investigators found on the hard drive of the husband of Hillary Clinton’s former aide, Huma Abedin.
The move comes after the FBI ignored two previous FOIA requests for Clinton’s emails that were discovered on Weiner’s laptop.
The emails were found on Weiner’s devices after his phone and computers were seized by police whilst the former New York mayoral candidate was being investigated for child pornography charges.
Judicial Watch filed the suit after the Justice Department did not act on two FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No.1:18-cv-02105)).
In October 2016 The Washington Post reported that the FBI obtained a warrant to search the emails found on a computer used by Weiner that may contain evidence relevant to the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In light of that report, on December 12, 2016, Judicial Watch submitted an FOIA request to the FBI, seeking all emails seized pursuant to the search warrant.
The FBI denied the request and Judicial Watch appealed.
The FBI has not acted on the appeal. Judicial Watch then filed a second FOIA request on September 29, 2017, to which the FBI has not responded. Judicial Watch is seeking:
- All records regarding the search of a laptop owned or formerly owned by former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
- All records retrieved from a laptop owned or formerly owned by former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
- All records of communications, emails, text messages and instant chats, sent to or from FBI officials relating to Hillary Clinton’s knowledge or possible knowledge of illicit activities involving former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Weiner is the incarcerated husband of former Clinton top aide Huma Abedin.
He was convicted of having sexually explicit communications with teenage girls.
In October 2016, FBI investigators from its New York field office discovered Abedin’s emails on Weiner’s laptop, including data indicating the emails went through Clinton’s non-“state.gov” email system.
A separate Judicial Watch lawsuit already uncovered at least 18 classified emails from the Clinton server on the Weiner laptop
“The Anthony Weiner laptop-Clinton email cover-up by the Obama DOJ and FBI is central to uncovering the corrupt politicization of those agencies,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“The same FBI that provided cover for Hillary Clinton was going full bore against then-candidate Trump and this lawsuit aims to uncover the full truth about that corruption.”
RealClear Investigations’ reporter Paul Sperry recently reported that “only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails [found on the Weiner laptop] were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information.
“Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges.”
In a related case, Judicial Watch uncovered 424 pages of FBI records that include an email revealing that fired FBI official Peter Strzok created the initial draft of the October 2016 letter then-FBI director James Comey sent to Congress notifying lawmakers of the discovery of Hillary Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop.
The notification, according to the DOJ IG, came a full month after the emails were discovered by the FBI on Weiner’s laptop.
The delay, the IG suggests, may have been the result of anti-Trump bias by FBI official Peter Strzok and others:
In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop, we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper considerations.