A former Bill Clinton aide claimed in a sworn deposition that he worked with top Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin to set up the secretary of state’s unsecure email system, contrary to Abedin’s testimony.
Justin Cooper, who registered the domain name for Hillary Clinton’s private clintonemail.com, was testifying in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by government watchdog Judicial Watch against government entities.
Cooper said Abedin was his primary contact regarding the choice of the domain name, which he recalled being registered in January 2009.
However, in a 2016 Judicial Watch deposition, Abedin claimed she became aware of the server only through “reading in some news articles about a year, a year-and-a-half ago, when it was – it was being publicly discussed.”
An FBI investigation found Clinton channeled some 2,000 emails with classified information through the system, including about two dozen with top secret information. However, FBI Director James Comey explained in a news conference that the bureau would not refer charges to the Justice Department because the secretary of state did not have the intent to break the law.
Cooper admitted he spoke with Cheryl Mills, former chief of staff for Clinton, only days before the deposition.
“Questions surrounding a wiped server, a Clinton lawyer being informed of a scheduled deposition, contradictory testimony – all uncovered recently by Judicial Watch in its court-ordered discovery on the Clinton email scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Cooper testified that while he worked with Abedin to set up the private email system, he didn’t recall if Clinton had “any input” at the time.
The interview with Cooper was part of the discovery interview process approved by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in the FOIA case.
“Judge Lamberth late last year criticized the DOJ, saying he was ‘dumbfounded’ by the inspector general report revealing that Mills had been given immunity and was allowed to accompany former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her FBI interview [about the email scandal],” Judicial Watch said.
The judge commented at the time: “I did print out and read that 500-page report when I got it and I was actually dumbfounded when found out, in reading that report, that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity because … I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case. So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview.'”
Cooper explained there actually were two servers, an original “Apple server” and a Windows unit.
“When Cooper was asked if Clinton or anyone associated with them is paying his legal bills for this deposition or any other matters related to Secretary Clinton’s use of email, he answered: ‘In relation to [today’s legal expenses] it’s unclear to me if I’ll be reimbursed for these – for legal fees from the Clintons. My previous legal fees about a year after the conclusion of the congressional testimony through my lawyers was negotiated for settlement for the Clintons to make payment,'” Judicial Watch said.
Judicial Watch has been granted permission for depositions and written questions under oath with many employees in positions to know details about the email system.
In addition to Cooper, they include John Hackett, a State records official; former Hillary Clinton deputy chief of staff Jacob Sullivan; former State employee Sheryl Walter; State lawyer Gene Smilansky; State official Monica Tillery; State employee Jonathan Wasser; State employee Clarence Finney; Heather Samuelson, a former senior State adviser; former Hillary Clinton confidential assistant Monica Hanley; and E.W. Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division.
Also, former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice and strategic adviser Ben Rhodes will be desposed.