Why the Bombshell Report on Hillary's Private Emails Is a 'Very Big Deal'
A bombshell New York Times report this morning says Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email address, not a government account, while she served as secretary of state.
The report raises questions on whether the former First Lady violated federal record-keeping laws for conducting official business. Her aides reportedly did not preserve the personal emails, as required by law.
The Times reported:
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.
All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.
The State Department has sought to downplay the revelations, maintaining that it "has long had access to a wide array of Secretary Clinton's records - including emails between her and Department officials with State.gov accounts." A Clinton spokesman said that she always emailed State officials on their government email accounts "with every expectation that they would be retained."
"Fox and Friends" brought in Judge Andrew Napolitano to ask him whether this is a big deal.
He answered that indeed it is a "very, very big deal" because the Federal Records Act requires the government to have custody of the official records and documents of public officials.
"She violated that act by effectively taking those records from government custody and putting them into her own," he said, adding that the government could bring a civil action to try to get the documents back.
He said, though, that it could be impossible for Clinton to get the documents back now. Napolitano likened this to the investigation of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus because Clinton - who had the same level of security clearance as President Obama - allegedly "transferred classified documents from government custody to her own email accounts."
"That is a potential crime. That is the same thing for which General Petraeus is being investigated by the Justice Department," said Napolitano, adding that there's no way someone with this much experience in government would not know these record-keeping laws.
"What is she trying to hide and what will the government do about it?" he asked, noting how aggressively the Obama administration has gone after people suspected to have leaked classified information.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said a month ago that he would not call Clinton to testify until the State Department complied with his request to hand over all of her emails.
Watch his full analysis above.