Despite attacking Hillary Clinton over her email controversy during the 2016 campaign, President Trump’s administration isn’t rushing to release documents related to the Clinton email investigation or begin action on locating her missing emails.
Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, has more than 15 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits related to Mrs. Clinton’s emails still pending.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which for two years battled the Obama state and justice departments, said he’s surprised to find himself still fighting now, with a Trump administration in power.
“They’re defending Hillary Clinton’s email scandal again,” Mr. Fitton said.
He said he thinks Mr. Trump would be disappointed to learn about what is happening.
“This is a position that is straight out of the Obama administration’s playbook of obstruction and stonewall and I don’t understand why in this — and other cases — the agencies are still protecting Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Fitton said.
Judicial Watch has requested that new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson take steps to recover missing emails from Ms. Clinton and other employees at the State Department.
They’re not the only ones still pursuing cases.
Jason Leopold, a journalist at Vice Media whose lawsuit helped force the release of tens of thousands of Mrs. Clinton’s messages in 2015 and 2016, still has an active lawsuit.
And the Republican National Committee, which sued the State Department last year, still has active cases.
That creates the odd situation where Mr. Trump’s political team at the RNC is suing the president’s own executive branch departments.
Jeffrey Axelrad, a law professor at George Washington University, said it wasn’t unusual for the RNC to pursue the case even with a Republican in the Oval Office.
“Both Democrats and Republicans use litigation to further their campaign objectives, then they may want to pursue it so that the attorney fee provision kicks in,” said Mr. Axelrad.
Mark Zaid, a D.C. attorney, has two FOIA cases still ongoing that relate to Mrs. Clinton’s emails. He told The Washington Times he isn’t surprised these FOIA cases are lingering under the new administration.
“They’re all moving at the natural, normal pace that they do. You don’t typically see any type of real change just because an administration turns over,” said Mr. Zaid.
He said most new administrations usually issue guidelines right away laying out how departments and agencies should treat open-records requests, as part of a broader transparency policy. The Trump administration hasn’t done so yet.
“They’re not focused. It doesn’t look like they care,” Mr. Zaid said.
The Justice Department declined to comment and the State Department said it doesn’t comment on litigation.
But a spokesperson for the State Department told The Washington Times it has been posting all released emails that it has made available from Mrs. Clinton on its FOIA website and will continue to update the website as emails are reviewed.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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