U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth has already ordered additional fact-finding into whether former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of her private email system was a deliberate effort to hide evidence from the Freedom of Information Act. Now, Judicial Watch drops this bombshell which could follow her into the 2020 election:
It is at the very least, a humongous victory for transparency, and at worst – finally – the beginning of long-awaiting truth to come out about the attacks in Benghazi which claimed four American lives. Most experts following the case doubt the scandal will still be blamed on a YouTube video, or anyone will shriek, “What does it matter anyway?”
The guts of it is that senior Obama administration officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The big question in most folks minds are, which rat will jump ship first?
Judicial Watch reports that they may also serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.
Lamberth’s order states Judicial Watch may depose:
- Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
- Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
- Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.
The Judicial Watch discovery plan was in response to a December 6, 2018, ruling by Judge Lamberth.
The court-ordered discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
- Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
Americans who have given up on justice over Clinton’s role in Benghazi and the illegal email scandal may see some light shone on the runner-up in the 2016 Presidential election. The Judge blasted her emailing practices as “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
Judge Lamberth, who is an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, also faulted the Trump administration for failing to follow-up the scandal and instead using a nothing-to-see-here approach:
The judge suggested that some State Department and Justice Department employees friendly to Clinton might have been trying to keep the emails from the public. He noted that messages eventually released by the State Department showed Clinton telling her daughter, Chelsea, that the assault in Benghazi, Libya, was a terrorist attack, even though the Obama administration long maintained that it was not.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said he hoped the judge’s ruling would make Trump’s appointees at the Justice Department change course in the litigation and take a more aggressive approach. The Deep State protects it’s own, regardless of Party affiliation, apparently.
“The historic court ruling raises concerns about the Hillary Clinton email scandal and government corruption that millions of Americans share,” Fitton said in a statement. “Judicial Watch looks forward to conducting careful discovery into the Clinton email issue and we hope the Justice Department and State Department recognize Judge Lamberth’s criticism and help, rather than obstruct, this court-ordered discovery.”
Even more encouraging, Judge Lamberth ordered an additional hearing to decide whether more depositions of would be merited. Additional testimony could be compelled from Hillary Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
For your edification, from CNN – here is a timeline of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal:
- “… like secretaries of state before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any department officials.”
- “For government business, she emailed them on their department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes.”
- “Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved.”
- “At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails — emails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes …”
- “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”
- “Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.”
- Clinton wouldn’t disclose how her emails were encrypted, “given what people with ill intentions can do with such information in this day and age, there are concerns about broadcasting specific technical details about past and current practices.”
- “I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters, and I feel like I’ve taken unprecedented steps for these emails to be in the public domain. I went above and beyond what I was requested to do.”