New records released by Judicial Watch Thursday show the State Department let Hillary Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin remove dozens of boxes of records from the agency in 2013, including important call and meeting records of the former chief U.S. diplomat.
The request to take such records when leaving the government might not seem unusual at first glance, as all heads of federal agencies would normally be allowed to take files that could be considered personal when they leave the job.
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But closer inspection of the authorization shows that it allowed departing Secretary of State Clinton and Abedin to take records required to be publicly available by the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or National Archives regulations.
Some of the records could concern Clinton Foundation donors who benefited from their relationship with Clinton, including alleged pay-to-play schemes that put money in the charity’s bank accounts in return for official actions or favors.
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Clinton and Abedin removed boxes containing personal schedules that would show with whom Clinton met as the nation’s chief diplomat, the log of all calls she made, the list of calls she wanted to make, and also information about gifts she received while in office.
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Also included in the removed records was something called “Muslim engagement documents.”
Strangely, Clarence N. Finney Jr., the State Department official who gave the OK for the records to be removed, included a note on the official form saying that, while Clinton’s schedule and call lists were public documents, they would not be released in response to FOIA requests.
“The secretary’s call log, grid and schedules are not classified; however, they would not be released to the general public under FOIA. They are being released to the secretary with this understanding,” the note reads.
“We already know the Obama State Department let Hillary Clinton steal and then delete her government emails, which included classified information,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
“But these new records show that was only part of the scandal. These new documents show the Obama State Department had a deal with Hillary Clinton to hide her call logs and schedules, which would be contrary to FOIA and other laws.”
The documents released by Judicial Watch were provided by the State Department in response to the nonprofit’s FOIA request.
On the form, called the Authorization for the Removal of Personal Papers and Non-Record Materials, it’s noted that Clinton’s schedule can be removed, because her “official schedule” is being maintained with the agency.
“Electronic copy of a log of calls the secretary made since 2004, it is a non-record, since her official calls are logged elsewhere (official schedule and official call log),” it says on the form listed in one category of documents Clinton is taking.
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The distinction between the list Clinton removed and the “official call log” hints at a kind of double-bookkeeping, where a sanitized version of a document is maintained as an available record while the uncensored version that might include potentially embarrassing information is hidden away, out of the public’s reach.
President Barack Obama appointed Clinton to the State Department in 2009. Former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) replaced her in 2013 after she resigned to seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination a second time.
While Hillary Clinton led the State Department, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was raising millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative in a controversial arrangement examined in the investigative journalist Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash.”
The House Intelligence Committee is also investigating the Uranium One deal, whereby a member of the board of the Clinton Foundation, Frank Giustra, sold his mining company, Uranium One, to a company affiliated with the Russian government for $1.3 billion.
The sale, which was approved by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other government leaders, was concluded in January of 2013. Clinton left office in February. The transaction gave the Russian government control of 20 percent of America’s uranium resources, which are required for making nuclear weapons.
The Department of Justice indicated last month that it also may be investigating the Uranium One deal, but many have questioned whether special counsel Robert Mueller can lead such a probe since he was FBI director at the time of the sale.
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And it was recently revealed that Peter Strzok, one of the top investigators working for Mueller on the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, also worked on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving at the State Department.
Hundreds of classified documents were found among emails sent to and from Clinton through the server, which was located in the Clinton’s mansion in Chappaqua, New York.
Strzok was also responsible for changing language in then-FBI Director James Comey’s July 2016 statement from saying Clinton was “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in her handling of official email. Federal law provides stiff penalties for federal workers convicted of gross negligence in handling classified documents
“When are the American people going to get an honest investigation of the Clinton crimes?” Fitton said.
PoliZette writer Margaret Menge can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter here.
(photo credit, homepage image: Hillary Clinton, cut out and saturated, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / People I Know, cut out, CC BY 2.0, by Alan Light / A corridor of files at The National Archives at Kew, CC BY 3.0, by The National Archives; photo credit, article image: Secretary Clinton With South African Foreign Minister Nkoane-Mashabane, CC BY-ND 2.0, by United States Mission Geneva)
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