Clinton’s top aide admits that daily schedules were destroyed
We asked a law professor how big a deal that is
At 11am Tuesday morning, FBI Director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be filed against Hillary Clinton, ending the FBI investigation into her controversial use of a private email server.
However, there are still questions about Clinton’s working practices time at the State Department – specifically relating to her destruction of documents.
On July 4, the day before Director Comey made his statement, Clinton’s top aide confirmed that the presumptive Democratic nominee destroyed daily schedules during her time as Secretary of State.
“If there was a schedule that was created that was her secretary of State daily schedule, and a copy of that was then put in the burn bag, that … that certainly happened on … on more than one occasion,” Huma Abedin said during a deposition over Clinton’s use of private emails.
Richard Grenell, a former U.S. diplomat and spokesman to the United Nations, claimed that it was unusual for a State Department official to burn daily schedules.
“I spent eight years at the State Department and watched as four U.S. ambassadors and two secretaries of state shared their daily schedules with a variety of State Department employees and U.S. officials,” Grenell told the New York Post.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this raises questions about Director Comey’s verdict. When typing “18 U.S. Code 1519” into Google, one can easily find that concealing, destroying, falsifying or altering a record or document (such as a daily schedule that is kept in government records) with the intent to influence or obstruct an investigation directly violates federal law.
Here is the code on the Cornell Law School website:
But 18 U.S. Code 1519 states that there must be an intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation. Professor Kimberly Ferzan from University of Virginia School of Law explains the statute.
“The statute is what is called a specific intent statute. To violate it, she would not only have had to destroy docs but also have done so with specific goal of impeding an investigation.
This statute is designed to get people who shred the “smoking gun” document that proves they have engaged in criminal wrongdoing. Without being privy to the investigation, it does not seem to me that the facts support that here.”
It should also be noted that the FBI’s statement does not officially end all questions and investigations regarding Clinton’s email situation. While the FBI Director states that there is no evidence suggesting a violation of federal law, Comey does admit that the former Secretary of State was careless with her resources.”
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said in his statement.
The Justice Department will now decide whether to accept Comey’s recommendation or indict the presumptive Democratic nominee.