Justice Department lawyers affirm Clinton's right to delete personal emails. by Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America

Justice Department lawyers affirm Clinton’s right to delete personal emails.
photo by Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America

The government said Judicial Watch had presented no evidence to suggest Clinton had mistakenly or intentionally deleted government records instead of personal emails, and said “government agencies are not required to take steps to recover deleted material based on unfounded speculation that responsive information had been deleted.” [Associated Press]

IN THE ONGOING battle with Judicial Watch, which revolves around the preservation of records and FOIA requests, the Justice Department has affirmed that Secretary Clinton had the authority to review her emails and decide to delete those she found that were personal in nature. In a court filing on Wednesday, originally reported by the Washington Times, Justice Dept. lawyers on behalf of the State Department (brief is here) wrote that there was “no question” Clinton had the authority to do what she did.

Reporting from BuzzFeed

The Justice Department also stated that Clinton had the authority to determine what constituted her own personal and federal records — just as she would have were she working on a government email account.

For those reasons, the Justice Department argued, there is no legal basis for the preservation order.

In the brief, the Justice Department lawyers note that the State Department — as with other government agencies that task employees with managing their own emails — requires individuals to “review each message, identify its value, and either delete it or move it to a record-keeping system,” according to NARA rules.

As such, the attorneys state, “there is no question” that Clinton was legally permitted to delete correspondence she considered personal. Because State Department employees “may delete messages they deem in their own discretion to be personal,” the briefing reads, the Judicial Watch argument “reduces to an unsupported allegation that former Secretary Clinton might have mistakenly or intentionally deleted responsive agency records rather than personal records.”

The court hasn’t ruled, but Judicial Watch did respond.

The issue of email classification, which is still causing Clinton intense political headaches, is not part of the order.


The company that managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server said it has “no knowledge of the server being wiped,” the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered. [Washington Post]

These news items do not relieve the pressure on Hillary or her team, which remains intense. The cumulative weight of the server/email revelations has escalated over the last 6 months giving rise to new challenges.

The most unnerving has to be the unknown of whether Vice President Joe Biden gets into the race, something that was unthinkable back when the issue of the private server first surfaced.

The other is also out of their control. It’s the media’s ability to ignore whatever Hillary Clinton is saying when Donald Trump is talking or doing something big, which is daily. Her Iran speech and Q&A at the Brookings Institute barely made a blip beyond Twitter, because as much as people opine on foreign policy they’re not much into details or being informed beyond their own point of view. Hillary’s interview with Ellen DeGeneres was blown off the news by Joe Biden’s extraordinary interview with Stephen Colbert.

John F. Kennedy’s eloquence and charisma helped him win the presidency. Ronald Reagan knew how to work a camera and a phrase. William Jefferson Clinton has it all. Barack Obama made people feel like he could change the world.

It’s nothing new that substance is the step child to style in politics. Emotional connection wins every time.

People will listen to your policies only after you get their attention. Hillary’s had people’s attention all year and not in a good way. Until this changes she’s up against it, because people are tired of what they’re hearing.