Federal judge: Hillary must answer more email questions

By WND Staff

Hillary Clinton at the American Federation of Teachers Union on July 13, 2018 (Video screenshot)

A federal judge has ordered Hillary Clinton to answer questions about why she set up an unsecure private email system to conduct government business while she was secretary of state.

Government watchdog Judicial Watch said the ruling comes from

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth also ordered depositions of Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and two others.

Judicial Watch, which filed the lawsuit, said the judge also approved a request to subpoena Google for relevant documents and records.

“Judicial Watch uncovered the Clinton email scandal and we’re pleased that the court authorized us to depose Mrs. Clinton directly on her email conduct and how it impacted the people’s ‘right to know’ under FOIA,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Judicial Watch’s long-running lawsuit began with a request for “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack.”

The watchdog group in 2014 found that the “talking points” memo that was the basis for Susan Rice’s “false statements” about Benghazi in media interviews was created in the Obama White House. That case led to the discovery of Clinton’s private, unsecure, and possibly hacked email system.

Lambert two years ago ordered discovery into whether Clinton set up the private system to avoid Freedom of Information requests, whether the State Department’s plan to settle the case was in “bad faith” and whether there was an adequate search for Clinton’s information.

The judge earlier called the email system “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

The judge said: “Discovery up until this point has brought to light a noteworthy amount of relevant information, but Judicial Watch requests an additional round of discovery, and understandably so. With each passing round of discovery, the court is left with more questions than answers.”

He also said “there is still more to learn.”

“Even though many important questions remain unanswered, the Justice Department inexplicably still takes the position that the court should close discovery and rule on dispositive motions,” he said. “The Court is especially troubled by this. To argue that the Court now has enough information to determine whether State conducted an adequate search is preposterous, especially when considering State’s deficient representations regarding the existence of additional Clinton emails. Instead, the Court will authorize a new round of discovery.”

Clinton’s answers so far, the judge, just haven’t been satisfactory.

“The court has considered the numerous times in which Secretary Clinton said she could not recall or remember certain details in her prior interrogatory answers. In a deposition, it is more likely that plaintiff’s counsel could use documents and other testimony to attempt to refresh her recollection. And so, to avoid the unsatisfying and inefficient outcome of multiple rounds of fruitless interrogatories and move this almost six-year-old case closer to its conclusion, Judicial Watch will be permitted to clarify and further explore Secretary Clinton’s answers in person and immediately after she gives them. The court agrees with Judicial Watch – it is time to hear directly from Secretary Clinton.”

The case centers on Clinton’s abuse of classified information while she was secretary of state and the Benghazi scandal in which four Americans were killed by terrorists.

Evidence regarding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, “led directly to the public exposure in March 2015 of the private Clinton email system she used from 2009 to 2013 to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business,” Judicial Watch said.

Dozens of highly sensitive classified materials were sent to and from Clinton through the system. The FBI said the private system was vulnerable to compromise by hackers outside the United States and by foreign intelligence operatives.

Lamberth also has encouraged Judicial Watch to “shake this tree” for evidence and warned the State Department, “There is no FOIA exemption for political expedience, nor is there one for bureaucratic incompetence.”

Clinton eventually turned over to the federal government some 33,000 emails from her private server, but she didn’t allow the government to have another 30,000, alleging they were “private.”

A letter sent to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, revealed a federal investigation found 38 current and former State Department officials violated government email regulations by using Clinton’s private system.

The Associated Press reported at the time that some of the individuals may face disciplinary action for 91 instances in which classified information ended up in Clinton’s personal email system.

Of the 33,000 emails Clinton turned over for review, the State Department found 588 instances in which classified information was transferred.

Judicial Watch says it already has learned:

  • John Hackett, former director of information programs and services (IPS), testified under oath that he had raised concerns that Clinton’s staff may have “culled out 30,000” of the secretary’s “personal” emails without following strict National Archives standards. He also 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 interrogatory responses, E.W. Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, stated that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House.
  • Jacob 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 BlackBerrys and personal emails to transmit classified material.

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