Cornyn Presses State Department On Clinton Emails
Cornyn: “[W]hat really bothers me is when people plan in a premeditated and deliberate sort of way to avoid the Freedom of Information Act ...”
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) today pressed the State Department about compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, specifically with regards to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email.
Here are some excerpts from the exchange with the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Sen. John Cornyn: “There’s this idea out there that the Freedom of Information Act is something we do for the press. That is a fundamentally flawed way to look at it from my perspective. This is about the public’s information that was generated by people who work for the government and information that was generated by their tax dollars. And I believe there should be a presumption that the information that is held by the U.S. government should be open and accessible to the public. ...
“The 37 out of 100 that the State Department has gotten on your score card for FOIA is an embarrassing failure of the agency, and I don’t know how we could call it anything different. But what really bothers me is when people plan in a premeditated and deliberate sort of way to avoid the Freedom of Information Act and federal government requirements that require them to make public information available to the public, and of course we are all familiar the news accounts of what happened with former Secretary Clinton. Ms. Barr, did either you or Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, know that Secretary Clinton was operating exclusively on a personal and private email server?”
Hon. Joyce Barr (Assistant Sec. of State for Administration): “I have no information on that, sir, I was not aware of that.”
Cornyn: “Are you aware of anybody else, in the United States Government who is operating on a private personal email server in a way that defeats the very purpose of our freedom of information laws? Are you aware of anybody else who’s operating in such a manner?”
Barr: “I am not personally aware of that, sir.”
Cornyn: “I understand that but I’m asking about her emails on her personal email server. How would you access that in response to a Freedom of Information request?”
Barr: “Well, we have them now, sir.”
Cornyn: “Do you have all of them?”
Barr: “We have the emails that she has released to us, all of the official ones, that’s what...”
Cornyn: “Do you know what percentage that represents of all the emails she has on her server?”
Barr: “No, I do not.”
Cornyn: “So you don’t have any way of verifying that you have all of the official emails that she processed on her personal email account?”
Barr: “We have been told that she has provided those to us.”
Cornyn: “Who told you that?”
Cornyn: “So you are taking her word for it? [Barr nods] I’m sorry?”
Barr: “Yes, sir.”
Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees.
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