Judicial Watch served a court-authorized subpoena to Google on April 15 requesting emails from a controversial Gmail account tied to Hillary Clinton.
The subpoena is part of a yearslong Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which has led to the discovery of Clinton’s use of an unauthorized private email server to conduct government business during her tenure as the secretary of state.
Judicial Watch, a government transparency group, requested the emails and metadata from the firstname.lastname@example.org account. Clinton IT aide Paul Combetta claimed to have used the account to transfer all of Clinton’s emails from a laptop to an email server.
As a result of the transfer, the Carter Heavy Industries email ended up in the metadata of all but four of the Clinton emails handed over to Congress. The email account’s peculiar name — similar to that of a Chinese company — prompted concerns that the Chinese regime may have gained access to Clinton’s emails. An inquiry by two inspectors general did not find evidence of an intrusion or any association between Combetta and any Chinese company. Combetta — who was granted immunity before Clinton’s exoneration — refused to answer questions for the inspector generals’ inquiry.
“A federal court, tired of the State and Justice Departments’ gamesmanship authorized Judicial Watch’s subpoena to Google to follow a lead on the Clinton emails,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “DOJ and State are AWOL and covering up for Hillary Clinton, so it is again up to Judicial Watch to do the basic investigative heavy lifting to get at the truth.”
Much remains unknown about Combetta’s use of the Gmail account. He claims to have used it to create an archive of Clinton’s emails on the email server. Clinton’s lawyers, who were not given a copy of the archive, somehow produced emails to Congress with the Carter Heavy Industries email address in the metadata.
Notably, Judicial Watch is asking Google to produce emails from two accounts with slightly different spellings. The request is likely the result of the two spellings appearing in documents released by the inspectors general to Congress. Additional questions may arise if both accounts exist and both contain or have contained Clinton’s emails. For example, it may be possible that Clinton’s lawyers used one account while Combetta used the other.
At the time the FBI reviewed the Gmail account, hundreds of Clinton’s emails were still present. Neither the FBI nor the inspectors general have clarified whether anyone else but Combetta had access to the account.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.