Even as the FBI said Tuesday that it would not recommend charging Hillary Clinton for putting her work email on a private server when she was secretary of state, a federal court may have just opened the door to more scrutiny of the Democratic presidential candidate. The facts of the court ruling -- in the case of another government official -- have little to do with Clinton herself. But the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit appears to hold significant implications for the presumptive Democratic nominee as she seeks to deflect attention away from her online records and focus her energy on Republican rival Donald Trump. The D.C. Circuit held in its decision that work email stored privately is still subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. The whole point of FOIA, the court said, is to provide transparency on public officials' behavior while in office.
It seems Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner isn't the only one in the family to use private email accounts for government business. A freedom of information act (FOIA) request by nonprofit watchdog group American Oversight has revealed that Ivanka Trump also used a personal email account to perform government functions. Compelled by the FOIA request, the Small Business Administration released email correspondence (PDF) between it and Ivanka Trump via a private email address dating to February 28th. While this date was technically prior to her taking an official (and notoriously unpaid) position in the White House, she likely could have received a government email account, Newsweek argued -- especially since her chief of staff had one at the time. While this was Ivanka's only offending email that's surfaced thus far, as compared to the "fewer than a hundred emails" Kushner's lawyer confirmed he'd sent from a private account while doing government business, it's still the same political sin Donald Trump endlessly criticized Hillary Clinton for on the campaign trail.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in San Jose, California, in May 2016. WASHINGTON -- Another 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server. The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton's home server, later gave her copies to the government.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter used his personal email to conduct government business for nearly a year, according to emails released late Friday by the Department of Defense in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Associated Press and other news organizations. Carter used his personal email from taking office in February of 2015 through December. While none of the emails sent to or from Carter's personal account contained classified information -- most were relatively mundane scheduling notes sent to his staff -- his actions violated long-standing Pentagon policy. The New York Times first revealed Carter's use of his personal email Dec. 17, upon which he and his staff admitted their mistake, saying they were not aware it was against the rules, and would stop immediately. The use of a private email server by Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a material issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.
A longtime State Department official said he assumed that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using her personal email to "stay in touch with family and friends", not conduct official business. In a two-hour deposition with the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch last week, Lewis Lukens also said he offered to set up a "stand-alone" computer for Clinton to check her personal email account, only to be told that she "does not know how to use a computer to do email." Lukens' testimony was released Thursday, the day after the State Department inspector general released a report criticizing Clinton's email setup, saying that it violated federal records rules and cybersecurity guidelines. The FBI is investigating possible mishandling of classified information that passed through the server, which was set up in the basement of Clinton's Chappaqua, N.Y. Clinton has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and did so again Thursday.