Hillary Clinton may be cruising towards her nomination as the Democratic candidate for president, but she has yet to overcome a nagging scandal over her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. As the Democratic convention nears, some hope—and others fear—that she might face criminal prosecution for her handling of sensitive government emails.
What Exactly Did Hillary Do Wrong?
When Hillary was appointed to the head of the Department of State, she and her staff requested that she be issued an NSA encrypted Blackberry device, so that she could access her government emails on the go. This request was turned down, and in 2009 she began using a private email server that linked to her standard-issue Blackberry.
Although Clinton claims that she did not send confidential information through her private email system, most observers—including an anonymous source in the State Department—believe that she did. Security experts have stated that it is likely that foreign governments were able to hack into Clinton’s emails system to retrieve this information.
Clinton herself admitted that her actions were in poor judgment, but still insists that she did nothing illegal.
Did Clinton Illegally Delete Emails from Her Server?
In December 2014, Hillary turned over approximately 30,000 emails, and deleted a further 30,000 that she stated were personal in nature. Some believe that these 30,000 “private” emails may have contained damning information about her actions as Secretary of State.
This may have been a violation of any of the following laws:
- The Federal Records Act — Requires that all work-related emails be kept, and states that government employees cannot destroy or remove relevant records.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations — Government agencies must maintain records so that they may be easily found and scrutinized by Congress.
- The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — Gives the public the right to request declassified government documents.
- 18 U.S.C. 1924 — Knowingly removing or housing classified information at an unauthorized location is punishable by a fine or a year in prison.
The final decision on whether to open a prosecution of Hillary Clinton is up to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who will rely on the results of an ongoing FBI investigation. According to FBI head James Comey, there is no timeframe for the investigation’s conclusion.
The Department of Justice Supports Clinton’s Handling of Her Emails
It seems unlikely that Clinton will get prosecuted for deleting the emails she deemed to be private. According to a brief by the Department of Justice: “There is no question that Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision – she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server.”
Until the results of the FBI investigation are released, and the Attorney General decides whether or not to prosecute, there’s no telling whether the Clinton email scandal will escalate or blow over. As far as the election is concerned, democratic voters seem to be unfazed by what they perceive to be a politically motivated attack against their favorite candidate.
For others, however, the Clinton scandal shows once again how easy it is for the elites to escape criminal responsibility for their actions. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we believe that all should be treated equally before the law. If you have been charged with a crime, call the Columbus criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation.