If Hillary Clinton thought her crushing defeat to Donald Trump was the last piece of bad news that 2016 had in store for her, she just got a nasty surprise. The president-elect may be ready to move on, but the matter of her missing emails is not quite dead yet.
On Tuesday, D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Williams ruled that a couple of independent watchdog groups can move forward with their Freedom of Information Act lawsuits seeking further action by the Justice Department. The organizations – Judicial Watch and Call to Action – want the attorney general to dig deeper in the effort to recover the emails Clinton deleted (and “bleached”) instead of turning over to the State Department.
Williams’ ruling reverses a lower court’s decision that put the lawsuits on ice and could put Hillary Clinton back under federal investigation. That court determined in January that the lawsuits were moot, seeing as how State and the National Archives launched a “sustained effort” to recover the emails.
In his ruling this week, Williams disagreed.
“The Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder – e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General – might not bear more still,” Williams wrote. “Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.”
So it looks like Crooked Hillary isn’t quite out of the woods just yet, so to speak. And while Trump is ready to move on, millions of his supporters still want to see this miscarriage of justice righted. The legal penalty for mishandling classified information is not “you don’t get to be the President of the United States.” – it’s prison. The American people deserve to know that no one – not even the mighty Clintons – are above the law.
This was a fierce election and it’s understandable that a lot of people are ready to move forward and forget about Hillary’s face for a while. But every action sets a precedent. It may feel good now to know she will not be president, but this episode has left us with very little faith in the justice system. There can be no turning the other cheek when the rule of law itself is in jeopardy.
This isn’t about the sweet feeling of righteousness or some desire to “hurt” the Clintons. This is about making sure our laws are not flagrantly ignored by the powerful. If we have to “lock her up” to preserve our laws, then that’s what we’ll have to do.