Even as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton celebrated her narrow victory over Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in Kentucky, a top journalist’s lawyers were seeking to establish the scope of the FBI investigation that is being conducted over her alleged misuse of a private server to share sensitive information.
According to LawNewz, Vice News investigative journalist Jason Leopold’s attorneys filed a document in court Tuesday ripping into the FBI’s reasoning for withholding its correspondence with Hillary Clinton over the email server. Leopold has been seeking the emails that the agency exchanged with Hillary Clinton’s office in regard to the investigation under the Freedom of Information Act, but his efforts to gain access to the emails have been blocked by the U.S. Justice Department.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier this month, the Justice Department declined to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the investigation because it involved “a law enforcement matter,” which, at the time, was the first indication that the FBI was conducting a criminal investigation over Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The DOJ argued that the requested emails are subject to FOIA exemption because their release could interfere with the investigation.
But Leopold’s attorneys, Jeffrey Light and Ryan James, sought to counter that narrative, arguing that the FBI has been unnaturally hush over the whole investigation. According to the document filed yesterday in court, the journalist’s attorneys argue that the agency has not met the requirements of the FOIA exemption because the DOJ has not provided enough information about the nature of the investigation itself.
“To show such a nexus, ‘the agency should be able to identify a particular individual or a particular incident as the object of its investigation and the connection between that individual or incident and a possible security risk or violation of federal law.'”
According to Leopold’s attorneys, the emails exchanged between Hillary Clinton and FBI cannot be released only under two conditions — Clinton’s emails must either be in violation of federal law or compromising the maintenance of national security — neither of which the FBI has admitted specifically. Thus, the attorneys maintain, their client has the right to know the “specific facts as to the basis for the FBI’s belief” that the release of the emails would somehow jeopardize the investigation.
The FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server has been going on for months now, and while experts from either side of the spectrum have maintained that it could turn into something “explosive” or “damaging,” FBI director James Comey has remained tight-lipped about the details of the investigation.
Last week, he did not confirm if the agency had a time-frame within which it sought to complete the investigation, but admitted that he felt “pressured” to carry out the investigation quickly, according to Politico.
The U.S. Department of Justice has yet to comment on the document filed yesterday by Jason Leopold’s lawyers, but the pressure that the FBI is facing to efficiently and properly conduct Clinton’s email investigation is perhaps increasing with each passing day.
With Hillary Clinton the likelier candidate to be the Democratic nominee come the July convention, every detail that emerges out of the email investigation could have big repercussions on the presidential race.
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