The Department of Justice says the federal government has no responsibility under the Freedom of Information Act to produce emails sent or received by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a privately maintained account, Politico reported Friday
Larry Klayman, a veteran lawyer and founder of the conservative watchdog group Freedomwatch,
is asking a federal appellate court to subpoena the computer server used by Clinton to house the private email address she used as secretary of state.
The former secretary of state has turned over 55,000 pages of emails that she deemed to be official government communications while deleting 30,000 emails she said were personal in nature.
Rep. Trey Gowdy,
a South Carolina Republican who chairs the House committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks, has asked Clinton to turn her email server over to a neutral third party to review it and ensure that any public documents are released.
Klayman filed suit alleging the State Department failed to respond adequately to his original FOIA request seeking documents dealing with Iran sanctions.
A federal district court ruled against Klayman two months ago, but he filed an updated appeal after news of Clinton's use of a private email account and server became known. Klayman argues that by failing to keep her email on public servers, Clinton and the State Department have obstructed justice.
Klayman is seeking to hold Clinton and her State Department aide Cheryl Mills in contempt, The Hill reported
In its filings, the DOJ says the FOIA law "creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control."
Klayman's effort to subpoena Clinton's email server is unwarranted, the department argues.
"Plaintiff provides no basis, beyond sheer speculation, to believe that former Secretary Clinton withheld any work-related emails from those provided to the Department of State," the agency says.
Several organizations who say their FOIA requests were mishandled because of Clinton's use of a private email server are seeking relief in court, but no court has provided relief or scheduled a hearing on the matter, Politico reported Friday.
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