Hillary Clinton’s Email Operation Violated At Least Six Criminal Laws

Eric Zuesse

This is not an exclusive list, nor does it relate to charges that might possibly be made against Ms. Clinton on grounds other than the unquestionable and basic ground that she moved all of her State Department email operation to a private and non-secured computer outside the State Department, and then attempted to destroy the record of those emails. Here are the six criminal laws of that type, which, I here allege, she clearly broke:

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18 U.S. Code § 2232 — Destruction or removal of property to prevent seizure

(a) Destruction or Removal of Property To Prevent Seizure

Whoever, before, during, or after any search for or seizure of property by any person authorized to make such search or seizure, knowingly destroys, damages, wastes, disposes of, transfers, or otherwise takes any action, or knowingly attempts to destroy, damage, waste, dispose of, transfer, or otherwise take any action, for the purpose of preventing or impairing the Government’s lawful authority to take such property into its custody or control or to continue holding such property under its lawful custody and control, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(b) Impairment of In Rem Jurisdiction

Whoever, knowing that property is subject to the in rem jurisdiction of a United States court for purposes of civil forfeiture under Federal law, knowingly and without authority from that court, destroys, damages, wastes, disposes of, transfers, or otherwise takes any action, or knowingly attempts to destroy, damage, waste, dispose of, transfer, or otherwise take any action, for the purpose of impairing or defeating the court’s continuing in rem jurisdiction over the property, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

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18 U.S. Code § 1512 — Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant

(c) Whoever corruptly

(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

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18 U.S. Code § 1519 — Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

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18 U.S. Code § 2071 — Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

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18 U.S. Code § 641 — Public money, property or records 

Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use, or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof, …

Shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years or both. …

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18 U.S. Code § 793 — Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information …

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer —  

Shall be fined not more than $10, 000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. 

(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy, shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy. 

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If we are a nation “of laws, not of men” (as that old basic description of democracy phrased it), then Ms. Clinton will be prosecuted, at least through the grand jury stage, on (at least) those grounds. The decision regarding her innocence or guilt will be made by jurors, not by the broader public — and also not by the nation’s Executive: the President and his appointed Administration. That is what it means for a government to be a functioning democracy. Any government which violates this principle — that it is “of laws, not of men [including women]” — is not functioning as a democracy: it’s something else.

In addition to these criminal laws, there are federal regulations also against these matters, but violations merely of federal regulations (such as these) are far less serious than are actions that violate also federal criminal laws (such as the six that are listed above).

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • Westcoastliberal

    On this 4th of July 2016 we stand at a crossroads of this country’s future. One direction confirms what we the people have come to believe….that our system of justice has become bifurcated with one set of laws and penalties for the rubes and another for the elites. The other direction confirms that our system is still working and that those who blatantly violate our laws and break our trust will be brought to justice.
    Which direction do you think our country will take?

    • Eric Zuesse

      We’ll know soon.

  • Virginia Simson

    TY Eric

  • Carlisle

    A real news article- First Thank you-
    Transfer of data-
    To first server-
    Then new second server-
    Then off-site data transfer to newer server- which was in control of Cooper- through private company – Data reassures order from Private Company-
    To Platte River Networks to do data transfer was over Datto network & systems that backed it up on CLOUD-
    Server registrar transfer to private company in Florida- data printed hard copy by staff- Her Lawyers searched which documents to print- & delete – again persons without clearance viewing all of this- Lawyers again made illegal transfer by making thumb drive-copying & transporting any of this is a crime –
    All of this again unsecured because it was not encrypted- the thumdrive unencrypted-

    And you are allowed to use email for work- but if she would have COPIED THIS STUFF IN A THUMBDRIVE & tried to walk out of the Building with it in a briefcase- There would be NO DOUBT OF CRIMES- Because to start with you CAN’T USE A THUMBDRIVE IN THE SECURE GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS

  • Brockland A.T.

    An actual hard news story, kewl. Zuesse scores another winner.

    The FBI has to recommend indictment. No way around it.

    There’s also the matter of Clinton Foundation influence peddling…

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/03/31/hillary-believe-me-weve-been-very-transparent-about-clinton-foundation-donations-n2141514