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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. …


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. 


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).


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.

  • ahuxley

    Ya know, even if these laws didn’t exist, she and Slick Willie are sleaze-bags extraordinaire…

    • Eddy

      That may be, BUT, the question is, How many of the posters on here, and the readers of this article, will tomorrow stand up and vote for Clinton ?????
      I’ll bet at least 50% do.

  • gratatt

    I am so angry right now. No..I’m MAD AS HELL! I just lost all faith in our criminal justice system, and it was on thin ice with me anyway.

    • Nicktheknife

      Dearest gratatt,If that is your picture , you are as cute, smart and rugged looking as any common adult . Stay safe and buy more ammo!

  • Robert Driggers

    This country is officially a joke. I am so blown away by the sheer madness that I’m witnessing unfold regarding this scandal. Comey should be fired, Lynch impeached, Obama investigated for obstruction of justice. This is beyond the pale. There isn’t a single felon in custody that should be if this is allowed to stand. How can we sit by and allow someone that WE ALL KNOW FOR A FACT committed numerous felonies not only walk scot-free; but pursue a political campaign to become the POTUS? How can the FBI Agents who investigated this woman remain on their jobs or collect their paychecks in light of the obvious treachery they are a party to today? Shame on you all. I’m not a Conservative; I’m an Independent. I loathed Bush and Chaney and their actions while in office but this is far, far worse than anything perpetrated by that regime.

    There will be a karmic backlash from this the likes of which we will not survive as a nation. We have just passed a mile-marker in a decent towards kangaroo that will not see us emerging unscathed as a people, a country or republic. We have become the people we classically used to fight against; the actions we used to try to thwart in our dreams as a nation. As misguided as we were in the past we at least had justification for the actions supported by us as a nation. The American people were a moral and ethical group as a whole but we have just lost the right and privilege to ever state such a claim and the sham we are now living has come to full bloom. I look in the mirror on this day after our celebration of independence and for the first time in my 42 years am truly ashamed of my American birthplace, my status as an American and my country as a whole. There have been times when I have doubted in the past but have been able to couch my feelings as the murkiness of the historical events have been balanced between what I learned in 9th grade Civics and the moral, ethical reasons behind whatever decisions were made at the time. There is simply no justification for any of this taking place. There is not a single area of these actions by Clinton which can be diluted enough to make this palatable.

    I cannot put into words the utter disappointment in my beloved country I am feeling today. I am by no means what you would call a blind, flag-waving patriot. I have always had a critical eye towards the actions of our nation as a whole. How can a single person be prosecuted under the laws of this nation by anyone in the Executive Branch in light of this obvious spectacle? How can we continue to teach the Constitution and the reverence it once possessed to a certain 9th grader with a straight face. We have risked the future of the quality that document will have with generations of our youth. The brilliance of the Constitution lies in its benevolence. Its unwavering evenhanded balance setting a level field that was imprinted into that kid so many years ago. What now of those coming up behind me? The Constitution is so much more than just a document; it’s an idea that was so simple in its brilliance that if it was not safeguarded properly could unravel without much time or effort. It only took one generation; one baby-boomer generation to see it undermined. I will leave it to others to determine the psychology of such actions and only note the passing of a great set of ideas that have finally been chopped down from the pedestal they were placed on by an idealistic young man. I know through conversations with the Millineals that the founding principals of our country have been dulled in the curriculum already so I shudder at what will be in store for those even younger when the inner-workings of our three branches are taught to them. This bill will become due and I fear the ones forced to pay will not be, as has been the case throughout their entire existence, the ones responsible for it in the first place.

    • Eileen Kuch

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Robert. You laid this whole fiasco out brilliantly, how the Constitution people your age and mine learned, was a benevolent document that laid out a level playing field when it came to justice.
      I can visualize this nation’s Founders spinning in their graves, their spirits enraged at the utter corruption emanating from the District of Corruption. The Clintons – Bill and Hillary both – are the worst pair of sociopaths (Hillary’s also a psychopath) in US history. Hillary herself far surpasses the criminality of Bush 43 and Cheney, and also Obama. Everything the pair touches is utterly corrupted.
      The only salvation (besides returning to God) is electing Donald Trump POTUS. He’s been lambasting the Hildebeast since the Email Scandal hit the airwaves and the papers. He’s absolutely right in accusing her of using her private insecure server for govt business and jeopardizing national security in doing so. Approximately 175 emails she sent contain extremely sensitive Secret Access Programs, and a Romanian hacker got hold of them, quickly read them and passed them on to Moscow.
      And it even gets worse. Russian President Vladimir Putin has read them, and he’s threatened to dump them where other foreign governments can copy them. When he threatens to do something such as this, he’s not joking; he’s dead serious.

  • Zaphod Braden

    He is a “COMEY” —- used when you are describing a cowardly corrupt BUTT-KISSER who corrupts the LAW for his “Betters”

  • DaveE

    Oh please. This whole thing was/is a MASSIVE distraction to cover up or obfuscate the fact that Clinton was and is a spy, certainly for Israel, maybe for others as well.

    Also quite “convenient” that Wikileaks, that “other” Israeli psyop – internet seeding operation, releases thousands of Clinton’s emails, but NOT the ones that really matter.

    Those would be grounds for war against Tel Aviv, which is precisely why so many Israelis are spending so much energy keeping us focused on irrelevant nonsense.

    I hope to live to see the day when Clinton’s REAL crimes are exposed. Start with the server in Netanyahu’s basement or a Mossad closet in Unit 8200.

  • T.j. Thomas

    The double problem here is that the FBI also finally recently gave a pass to the Bush administration officials who were responsible for millions of “missing” e-mails, along with sensitive and possibly classified material that was improperly sent for years to the RNC. Power protects power.

  • Defiant

    EVERYONE, including Lynch and Comey, are well aware that Hillary broke these laws.

  • IllegalSalley

    BUY MORE AMMO and keep your conscious clean, no matter what happens.P.S. People I hope you don’t expect me to pay you $ and kiss your ass to at least try hard this get this done…