A Washington federal trial judge said Clinton and a former longtime aide must be deposed in a public-records suit about Clinton’s use of a private email server. The impending depositions are “inappropriate, unnecessary, and a clear abuse of discretion,” lawyers at Williams & Connolly and Wilkinson Walsh contend.
Petitioners: Hillary Rodham Clinton; Cheryl Mills. Respondents:Judicial Watch, Inc.; United States Department of State.
Truth is, this all started with gaining records/emails regarding Benghazi. The saga continues while the Hillary Clinton lawyer of record continues to be David Kendall. The Hillary legal team petition to the court to prevent the depositions is found here.
U.S. District Court Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, said in court filings that written answers provided by Clinton to questions from Judicial Watch were “incomplete, unhelpful, or cursory, at best.”
“As extensive as the existing record is, it does not sufficiently explain Secretary Clinton’s state of mind when she decided it would be an acceptable practice to set up and use a private server to conduct State Department business,” Lamberth wrote in his order. “Simply put, her responses left many more questions than answers.”
“Even years after the FBI investigation, the slow trickle of new emails has yet to be explained,” the judge added, referring to the rate at which emails from Clinton’s private email server have since been released.
Clinton’s legal team responded with an 83-page petition for a writ of mandamus filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, calling the district ruling outrageous and asking the appeals court to order the lower court to correct the ruling.
The legal team for Clinton said reversing the order “is warranted because Judicial Watch’s impending depositions of Secretary Clinton and Ms. Mills are inappropriate, unnecessary, and a clear abuse of discretion.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “This desperate act is yet another attempt by the Clinton machine to delay truth and accountability for her email conduct and how it impacted the people’s ‘right to know’ under FOIA.”
Clinton’s lead attorney David Kendall said, “The district court’s order inappropriately discounts this Court’s prior finding that there are no remaining recoverable emails, the extraordinary discovery that Judicial Watch has already obtained, and the vast public record on Secretary Clinton’s emails.” He claimed, “Judicial Watch could not possibly show the extraordinary circumstances required to depose (or re-depose) former high-ranking officials regarding their reasons for taking official actions, and the court abused its discretion in finding otherwise.”
The Clinton team laid out three main arguments for why the lower court’s order should be reversed. First, they referenced a prior D.C. appeals court ruling in a Judicial Watch v. Pompeo case in 2018 that they said should render this FOIA case “moot.” Next, they claimed the district court’s order “violates the well-established principle that high-ranking government officials should not be subjected to depositions absent extraordinary circumstances.” And they claimed the lower court “lacked jurisdiction to order additional discovery because the FOIA requests were submitted only after Secretary Clinton left office.”
The district court ruling earlier this month was the latest twist in a nearly six-year-long case related to Clinton’s reasons for setting up her unauthorized private email server and whether she was attempting to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests.
Lamberth listed some remaining questions for Clinton: “How did she arrive at her belief that her private server emails would be preserved by normal State Department processes for email retention? … Did she realize State was giving ‘no records’ responses to her FOIA requests for emails? … And why did she think that using a private server to conduct State Department business was permissible under the law in the first place?”
The FBI investigated Clinton’s use of the server, hosted in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2014. Although former FBI Director James Comey found that Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling classified emails, no criminal charges were recommended against anyone following the bureau’s “Midyear Exam” investigation.
“Judicial Watch argued that Secretary Clinton’s existing testimony has only scratched the surface of the inquiry into her motives for setting up and using a private server,” Lamberth said.
The judge said Clinton’s written answers to questions in this case and related ones “were either incomplete, unhelpful, or cursory at bes,” and that “her responses left many more questions than answers.”