President Trump‘s new administration isn’t fighting any harder to have more of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails released.
In fact, based off of court proceedings this week, the Trump Justice Department is following the same playbook as President Obama’s, with government lawyers saying they will continue to seek a dismissal of a Judicial Watch case that is trying to force them to locate more of Clinton‘s emails.
‘It’s incredible,’ said Judicial Watch’s head Tom Fitton to the Washington Post. ‘They’re taking the same position as the Obama administration on Clinton.’
Monday’s U.S. District Court hearing came on the heels of a Court of Appeals decision that required Secretary of State John Kerry, now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to get the attorney general’s help in recovering more of Clinton’s emails from her time serving as secretary of state.
Kerry’s State Department had already gotten this case dismissed under Judge James Boasberg.
However, in December, an appellate court overturned the dismissal.
The plaintiffs, Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, and Cause of Action, which fights ‘government overreach,’ thought that the change of the administration would help their case.
That’s especially in light of Trump’s treatment of Clinton on the campaign trail, with his rallies often featuring the chant – ‘Lock Her Up!’ – which insinuated she was guilty of some crime related to her emails.
Clinton used a private email address and homebrew server during her tenure as secretary of state.
Instead, the same lawyer that the Obama administration used, Carol Federighi, argued that the case was ‘moot,’ as the government had already publicly released 55,000 of Clinton’s emails and the FBI had completed an investigation into whether the secretary of state broke laws in her handling of classified information.
However James Peterson, representing Judicial Watch, and John J. Vecchione, representing Cause of Action, argued that they needed to know more.
‘It’s like peeling an onion,’ Vecchione said, according to the Post’s Dana Milbank’s account.
The Trump administration lawyer didn’t agree.
She said that if the case wasn’t moot 14 month ago, it certainly is now, Milbank wrote.
‘I thought it was clearly moot,’ said Judge Boasberg, miffed at the appellate court’s decision.
Fitton told the Post he believed the administration sided against Judicial Watch because there aren’t enough political appointees in the Trump Justice Department yet to hand the case over to a new prosecutor.
‘I don’t think President Trump would be pleased,’ Fitton said, of his Justice Department’s current defense of the president’s former political rival Clinton.