Photo from Slate
Taking a break from Donald Trump, gay marriage, American Flags at half mast, global warming, and Planned Parenthood, and back to one of the regularly scheduled scandals….
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon is not a happy camper. Attorneys appearing in his courtroom representing the State Department tried to finesse their four year tardiness on complying with Freedom of Information Act requests. The court session was part of a lawsuit filed by the Associated Press in March to get the State Department off the pot when it comes to producing documents according to Politico.
Leon said he was determined to establish “what has been going on in the State Department for four years dragging their feet, not addressing these issues for four years.”
“I want to find out what’s been going on over there. I should say, what’s not been going on over there,” the judge added. “The State Department, for reasons known only to itself … has been, to say the least, recalcitrant in responding.”
Some would excuse the State Department’s foot dragging in relation to their reasoning: there are SO MANY requests they can’t keep up, and besides, Hillary Clinton kept her emails on a private server. But the judge isn’t buying it.
Leon accused [Department of Justice Lawyer Lisa Ann] Olson of responding with “convoluted gobbledygook” when she insisted that the State Department’s processing of those emails would satisfy the AP’s request for records about Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin’s transition to a special part-time position at State.
“The State Department … can’t say it has done a thorough search until it reviews all 55,000 pages of documents,” Olson said.
“What you just said, Ms. Olson, made no sense,” the judge replied. “You’re failing to distinguish between documents created by the State Department independently of Hillary Clinton’s emails — with Hillary Clinton’s emails. And you’re giving me some kind of convoluted gobbledygook. about how the emails contain within them the independently created documents relating to Huma Abedin’s appointment as a special government counsel. …That is nonsensical.”
Suffering fools gladly does not seem to be on the judge’s job description. Reportedly he wasn’t very happy when the Department of Justice lawyers had no idea how many documents – state department or otherwise – were related to the subject of the FOIA request: Huma Abedin’s going from one government job to another. All the Associated Press wants to know is what Abedin did as a “special government employee.” (So would we.) (Actually, Leon asked the AP lawyers if they had bothered to look at her LinkedIn page.) He was not amused when the DOJ lawyers used more recent FOIA requests for why the AP was unsatisfied as yet.
“The State Department’s not going to have the luxury of saying, because we’re focusing on Hillary’s emails, we’re doing so at the cost and expense of four-year-old requests. So, that’s not going to be an excuse,” the judge said. “In my judgment, a four-year-old request gets a priority over a recent request.”
Multiple FOIA requests for Hillary Clinton’s emails and documents during her tenure as Secretary of State, and lawsuits to the State Department regarding FOIA requests over many issues, are outstanding at this time. Judge Leon is out of patience. He told State to produce documents this week.