(TNS) Shocked: A clearly angry federal judge lambasted the State Department during a hearing in Washington, D.C., last week over what he said were “clearly false” statements made by officials in order to derail lawsuits seeking documents related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
In addition, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, said he was “shocked” and “dumbfounded” when he discovered that the FBI had granted immunity to former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills during the bureau’s probe into Clinton’s server, Fox News reported, citing a transcript of his remarks.
“I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case,” said Lamberth at the Friday hearing.
Fox News noted further:
The Department of Justice’s Inspector General (IG), Michael Horowitz, noted in a bombshell report in June that it was “inconsistent with typical investigative strategy” for the FBI to allow Mills to sit in during the agency’s interview of Clinton during the email probe, given that classified information traveled through Mills’ personal email account. “[T]here are serious potential ramifications when one witness attends another witness’ interview,” the IG wrote.
The judge said he did not know that Mills was given immunity until he “read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied [Clinton] to her interview,” which was short and came after then-FBI Director James Comey and others had predetermined they weren’t going to charge Clinton despite clear evidence she committed felonies when mishandling classified information.
Judicial Watch sued the State Department in 2014 for information related to the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack, which was blamed on an obscure anti-Muslim video.
The suit was filed after the Obama administration refused to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Additional JW suits are seeking information about Clinton’s private email server.
Fox News added:
The State Department had immediately moved to dismiss Judicial Watch’s first lawsuit on a motion for summary judgment, saying in an affidavit that it had conducted a search of all potentially relevant emails in its possession and provided them. The affidavit noted that some more documents and emails could be forthcoming.
But Lamberth denied the request to dismiss the lawsuit at the time — and on Friday, he said he was happy he did, charging that State Department officials had intentionally misled him because other key documents, including those on Clinton’s email server, had not in fact been produced.
“It was clear to me that at the time that I ruled initially, that false statements were made to me by career State Department officials, and it became more clear through discovery that the information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the search and this – what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system,” Lamberth said.
“I don’t know the details of what kind of IG inquiry there was into why these career officials at the State Department would have filed false affidavits with me. I don’t know the details of why the Justice Department lawyers did not know false affidavits were being filed with me, but I was very relieved that I did not accept them and that I allowed limited discovery into what had happened,” he added.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, who attended the hearing, said POTUS Donald Trump could help clear up matters.
“President Trump should ask why his State Department is still refusing to answer basic questions about the Clinton email scandal,” Fitton said in a statement. “Hillary Clinton’s and the State Department cover-up abused the FOIA, the courts, and the American people’s right to know.”
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