Hillary Clinton May Have Committed a Felony By Failing to Turn Over Emails Before Leaving State Department in 2013

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Mar 12, 2015 7:20 AM
Hillary Clinton May Have Committed a Felony By Failing to Turn Over Emails Before Leaving State Department in 2013

Questions continue to mount regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of personal email for government business and it looks like things may have just gotten a lot worse, legally. 

Up until now Clinton's email controversy has remained a political problem, but according to a former Department of Justice attorney and State Department protocol, she may have committed a felony by failing to turn over the proper documentation before leaving her position in 2013.

Every person who works inside the State Department must sign an official Separation Statement, which is a document requiring an inventory be taken of personal documents departing officials plan to take with them. These documents must be submitted to and approved by Department records officials. According to the State Department Records Management Handbook, officials who fail to turn over documents can face, "fines, imprisonment or both for the willful and unlawful removal or destruction of records as stated in the U.S. Criminal Code." Clinton has argued that she has turned over all the proper documents to the State Department, but just did it two years after leaving her position.

"State Department regulations also say that departing officials have to make sure that all of their official records are in the files of the Department of State upon departure. That couldn't be any clearer," Former DOJ Attorney Shannen Coffin said last night on The Kelly File

"If she signed it [Separation Statement], as you read the law and the manual itself which refers to the Criminal Code, if she signed that saying she had given them everything back, every federal record she had in her possession when in fact she had thousands of documents and thousands of emails sitting on her home server, did she violate the law? Did she commit a crime?" anchor Megyn Kelly asked Coffin. 

"If that's the case, then there's no question. The form itself says, 'Hey, before you sign this understand that you are certifying something that we can prosecute you for.' Making a false statement in this context, knowingly and willfully, which I can't imagine anything more knowing an willful than knowing you have 55,000 records sitting in your home, if you do that, it is a felony punishable under 18 U.S.C. 1001," Coffin said.

Yesterday the Associated Press sued the Department of State for a number of Clinton's emails. Government watchdog Judicial Watch did the same earlier this week.