A federal judge said Tuesday that he may be forced to subpoena former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and her aide, Huma Abedin, for emails that the pair withheld when they turned their work-related records over to the State Department.
WILL THIS DOG HUNT?
Judge Emmet Sullivan also ruled in favor of Judicial Watch, which is suing the State Department, by granting its motion for discovery into whether the agency 0r Clinton deliberately thwarted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by approving and utilizing a private email system.
If the depositions requested by Judicial Watch give rise to a reason to depose Clinton, the group said, it reserves the right to do so.
CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD
Judicial Watch on Tuesday named seven aides to Hillary Clinton that the group is seeking to depose in federal court. The request comes as part of a lawsuit the watchdog group has filed in an effort to obtain records on Huma Abedin, who served as Clinton's deputy chief of staff during her tenure as secretary of state.Those aides are:
Additionally, Judicial Watch is requesting that the State Department name its own expert witness who can speak to how the agency has processed Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to Clinton and Abedin.
"This discovery will help Judicial Watch get all of the facts behind Hillary Clinton's and the Obama State Department's thwarting of FOIA so that the public can be sure that all of the emails from her illicit email system are reviewed and released to the public as the law requires," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN NOT HIDE
If the depositions requested by Judicial Watch give rise to a reason to depose Clinton, the group said, it reserves the right to do so. "If [Judicial Watch] believes Mrs. Clinton's testimony is required, it will request permission from the court at the appropriate time," the group said.Tuesday's filing comes after a February ruling by Washington, D.C. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan that allowed Judicial Watch to proceed with discovery related to efforts by Clinton and her staff to undermine federal recordkeeping laws, in addition to a work arrangement that allowed Abedin to work for a consulting firm concurrently with her job at the State Department.
The State Department has until April 5 to respond to Judicial Watch's request, after which the group will have 10 days to issue a response of its own. Sullivan will rule on April 15 about whether Judicial Watch can proceed as it has requested.
Sullivan slammed the State Department during the hearing, saying that “it just boggles the mind a little that the State Department allowed this practice to occur in the first place.”
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Specific services include:But the conservative watchdog group dropped its lawsuit against State in 2014 after the agency claimed that it had searched the office of the Executive Secretary for records pertaining to Abedin’s employment but could find none.
It filed another lawsuit last March after Clinton’s personal email use was revealed.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Sullivan accepted the possibility that Clinton and Abedin may have to be subpoenaed and deposed.“There has been a constant drip, drip, drip of declarations. When does it stop?” he asked, noting that the incremental release of new information about Clinton’s email system and the State Department’s knowledge of it has created a “reasonable suspicion” that access to federal records covered by FOIA “was undermined.”
Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of her emails to the State Department in Dec. 2014. She claims that it was the entirety of her work-related exchanges.
Sullivan gave Judicial Watch three weeks to come up with a plan for discovery. The State Department will have three weeks after that plan is submitted to respond.
“Judge Sullivan’s ruling granting Judicial Watch’s request for discovery is a major victory for the public’s right to know the truth about Hillary Clinton’s email system,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement after Tuesday’s hearing. “The court-ordered discovery will help determine why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton, even despite receiving numerous FOIA requests, kept the record system secret for years.”
He said that Judicial Watch’s proposed discovery will seek testimony from current and former State Department officials.
“While Mrs. Clinton’s testimony may not be required initially, it may happen that her testimony is necessary for the Court to resolve the legal issues about her unprecedented email practices,” he said.