Republican senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is seeking to obtain “all email communications between former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton” when she served as the US Secretary of State.
Johnson sent the relevant request in a letter to the National Archives on Thursday, referring to a 2016 text message from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to ousted FBI agent Peter Strzok.
“Jim – I have the POTUS – HRC emails [FBI Director James Comey] requested at end of briefing yesterday. I hesitate to leave them, please let me know a convenient time to drop them off,” the text message obtained by Fox News in 2018 reads.
According to Johnson, this Page-Strzok communication apparently indicates that “multiple emails exist between Secretary Clinton and President Obama” while she was located in the “territory of a sophisticated adversary.”
Johnson also wrote in the letter that in January 2018, he requested “the Department of Justice (DOJ) produce emails Secretary Clinton sent to President Obama while she was located in the ‘territory of a sophisticated adversary.’” The senator gave the archives a deadline of 14 November to produce the emails.
The DOJ rebuffed Johnson's request, insisting that the “referenced email is not a Department document and contains equities of other executive branch entities.”
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, for his part, reacted to Johnson’s request by tweeting that :”for the umpteenth time the email story is put to bed w/ a clear recognition it was a pointless crusade that took away from so many other issues we should have been discussing in ‘16’”.
State Department Wraps Up Probe on Clinton Emails
The developments come after the US State Department concluded last month that at least 38 people were “culpable” of sending classified information to Hillary Clinton following the department’s internal investigation into the former US Secretary of State’s use of a private email server.
The probe found that the current or former State Department officials were involved in 91 security violations without identifying any of the individuals.
“While the use of a private email system itself did not necessarily increase the likelihood of classified information being transmitted on unclassified systems, those incidents, which then resulted in the presence of classified information upon it, carried an increased risk of compromise or inadvertent disclosure,” the enquiry found.
FBI Probes Storage of Secret Info on Clinton’s Server
In July 2015, the FBI launched an investigation into "potential unauthorised transmission and storage of classified information" on Clinton's email server, revealing that a substantial number of her correspondences contained classified information.
After a year-long probe, then-FBI Director James Comey recommended that no charges be brought against Clinton in July 2016, though he called her conduct “extremely careless.”
In late October 2016, Comey resumed the probe into Clinton's emails after some of them were found on a laptop owned by Anthony Weiner, the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. A few days later, Comey stated that the FBI would not change its previous recommendation.
House Democrats’ Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump
The Daily Mail has, meanwhile, suggested that Johnson’s request may mean that “Senate Republicans may be looking to revive interest in the private email scandal, just as the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump reaches a new intensity.”
The newspaper referred to House Democrats approving on Thursday a resolution that outlines protocols for the next step of the impeachment inquiry against Trump which was announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 24 September.
The probe was launched over a whistleblower complaint claiming that Trump’s phone talk with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky might constitute an abuse of power as he called the Ukrainian president to investigate potential corruption by former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Trump promptly released the transcript of the call, rejecting the impeachment inquiry as a “coup” and another round of “witch hunt garbage” aimed at discrediting him ahead of the 2020 vote.