Judicial Watch Fights in Court to Depose Hillary Clinton
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that a federal court will soon rule on whether Hillary Clinton and her top aide can be questioned under oath by Judicial Watch lawyers about the email and Benghazi controversies. The court has already granted additional discovery to Judicial Watch and is now considering Clinton’s objections, filed on September 23, to being questioned. Judicial Watch filed its response to Clinton on October 3 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).
The court previously ordered discovery into three specific areas: whether Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. The court specifically ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers and Clinton aides to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
On August 22, 2019, the court then ruled that Clinton and Mills had 30 days to oppose being questioned in person under oath by Judicial Watch related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Additionally, Judicial Watch was granted seven new depositions, three interrogatories and four document requests. In granting the additional discovery, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth commented: “I’ll tell you everything they’ve discovered in this period raises serious questions about what the hell the State Department’s doing here.”
Clinton’s lawyers, in opposing the request to question her, argued that she’s already answered all important questions about her emails and Benghazi. Judicial Watch rejects this, noting her answers about her email use raise additional, important questions:
Judicial Watch should be permitted to directly question Secretary Clinton about her motives, thoughts, and efforts regarding the “convenience” she relies upon in justifying her use of a secret, private server and email address in direct violation of federal records laws and State Department policies.
Clinton also suggests that her emails would have been captured by State Department records systems, which is contradicted by Tasha Thian, a retired senior State records official, recently questioned by Judicial Watch:
According to Ms. Thian’s testimony, there are at least six occasions Secretary Clinton was or should have been fully informed of federal records management, including email records, and compliance responsibilities. Yet Secretary Clinton’s actual understanding of her obligations with respect to official State Department records is completely absent from the record.
Thian implied that it was inconceivable that Clinton was not aware of her obligations regarding federal records and email management:
I don’t understand why she would come up with this statements that she was allowed – or how she would save record email by emailing another employee’s account. She had resources there aplenty. So it just doesn’t make sense to me.
[Even before taking office, Secretary Clinton] knew we had a process.
Additionally, Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, testifying on whether Clinton understood that FOIA applied to the clintonemail.com system, stated that Judicial Watch “would have to ask Mrs. Clinton.”
“Hillary Clinton is now joking about her emails even as she seeks to avoid being questioned on this serious scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The court has found that this email use and cover-up are no joking matter.”
Last month, the State Department, under court order, finally provided Judicial Watch a previously hidden email, which shows top State Department officials used and were aware of Hillary Clinton’s email account.
Judicial Watch’s discovery over the last several months found many more details about the scope of the Clinton email scandal and cover-up:
- John Hackett, former Director of Information Programs and Services (IPS) testified under oath that he had raised concerns that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s staff may have “culled out 30,000” of the secretary’s “personal” emails without following strict National Archives standards. He also revealed that he believed there was interference with the formal FOIA review process related to the classification of Clinton’s Benghazi-related emails.
- Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s White House liaison at the State Department, and later Clinton’s personal lawyer, admitted under oath that she was granted immunity by the Department of Justice in June 2016.
- Justin Cooper, former aide to President Bill Clinton and Clinton Foundation employee who registered the domain name of the unsecure clintonemail.com server that Clinton used while serving as Secretary of State, testified he worked with Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, to create the non-government email system.
- In the interrogatory responses of E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, he stated that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President.
- Jacob “Jake” Sullivan, Clinton’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff when she was secretary of state, testified that both he and Clinton used her unsecure non-government email system to conduct official State Department business.
- Eric Boswell, former assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, testified that Clinton was warned twice against using unsecure BlackBerry’s and personal emails to transmit classified material.