A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by government watchdog Judicial Watch, which exposed Hillary Clinton’s unsecure email system, is marching toward depositions with a number of key
Top aides to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state will be questioned in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that led to exposure of the unsecure email system through which she transmitted classified information
Judicial Watch said Thursday it submitted to the court a plan for depositions for “several top former government officials involved in the Clinton email scandal.”
The officials include Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan and FBI official E.W. Priestap.
The July 2014 lawsuit was filed after the State Department refused to respond to FOIA requests for information about talking points given to Rice by the White House and other agencies regarding the 2012 Benghazi attack.
“President Trump, frankly, should demand to know why the State and Justice Department are colluding with Clinton allies and trying to protect Hillary Clinton and themselves from court-ordered questions on the Clinton email scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“But a federal court wants answers – and Judicial Watch discovery plan is a key step to uncovering whether and how Hillary Clinton email misconduct stymied FOIA.”
Judicial Watch said it will update the federal court regarding its requested depositions of Clinton and aide Cheryl Mills at the end of a 16-week discovery period.
The discovery plan is a response to a Dec. 6, 2018, ruling by Judge Royce C. Lamberth that said the State Department and Department of Justice must work with Judicial Watch on answers to questions in three areas: Whether Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle the 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 judge called Clinton’s private email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
When Clinton left the State Department, she had her lawyers decide what needed to be turned over to the government. Ultimately, tens of thousands of emails were concealed from the public.
An FBI investigation found she had classified material on the unsecure system.
“Judicial Watch seeks the depositions of former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and former White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes about the creation and dissemination of the infamous Benghazi talking points because: ‘No one other than these individuals know better who they were communicating with and where records might be located,'” the group said.
It also needs “direct, unfiltered access to [additional] key witnesses with firsthand knowledge and the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.
The witnesses include Jacob Sullivan, who was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff; Clarence Finney, who handled Clinton’s correspondence; Jonathon Wasser, who conducted records searches; FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence E.W. Priestap, who supervised the Clinton email investigation; Justin Cooper, who managed clintonemail.com; Eric Boswell, who warned of the dangers of the system; and Heather Samuelson, who worked on FOIA projects.
The Benghazi controversy centers on Clinton’s admission in communications at the time of the attack that she knew it was a terrorist attack. The Obama administration, however, insisted it was a spontaneous protest against an obscure YouTube video that turned violent.
Judicial Watch said: “Incredibly, Justice Department attorneys admit in a filing opposing Judicial Watch’s limited discovery that ‘Counsel for State contacted the counsel of some third parties that Plaintiff originally included in its draft discovery proposal to obtain their client’s position on being deposed.’ This collusion occurred despite criticism from the Court that the DOJ engaged in ‘chicanery’ to cover up misconduct and that career employees in the State and Justice Departments may have ‘colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.'”