US panel seeks charges for company in Clinton email case

2017-04-27 21:50
(Evan Vucci, AP)

(Evan Vucci, AP)

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Washington - A congressional committee on Thursday asked the Justice Department to consider criminally prosecuting a technology services company that was involved in maintaining a private email server for Hillary Clinton.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee accused Colorado-based Platte River Networks and its chief executive, Treve Suazo, of withholding documents demanded under subpoena and obstructing the committee's investigation "at every turn."

The allegations were made in a referral to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Deleted thousands of emails

A referral for prosecution from Congress has no practical impact on the Justice Department, which decides on its own whether evidence exists to investigate a matter or to pursue criminal charges.

The FBI last July closed its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server without recommending charges for the former secretary of state or anyone else. But since then, Republican-led congressional committees have made multiple referrals of their own to the Justice Department. One sought an investigation into whether Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, had lied to Congress. A second referral was about whether Clinton or others who worked with her played a role in the deletion of thousands of her emails.

Democrats have called those referrals politically motivated.

The new letter from the committee chairperson, Rep Lamar Smith, R-Texas, holds the prospect of reviving the divisive, politically charged debate over the Clinton email investigations and shows the lingering anger from members of Congress about the outcomes of those investigations.

Classified information

In the letter, Smith alleges that Suazo and his lawyer repeatedly turned aside demands for documents without making any "valid legal arguments." Smith said that in September, when Platte River Networks responded to a subpoena from a month earlier, "the company categorically misinterpreted the language" of the subpoena and contended it had no relevant documents to provide.

Platte River Networks began managing the Clinton server in 2013. The company in 2015 provided the server to the FBI, which investigated the potential mishandling of classified information.

Read more on:    fbi  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  2016 presidential elections

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