Clinton litigants want testimony from 8 aides in email case

Clinton litigants want testimony from 8 aides in email case
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A conservative legal watchdog facing off against the Obama administration asked a federal court on Tuesday to seek testimony from eight current and former State Department officials close to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThere are many unanswered questions about FBI culture FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts offers to testify on Capitol Hill Giuliani wants 'full and complete' investigation into Russia probe's origins MORE.

The court filing from Judicial Watch follows a judge’s decision last month allowing the group to seek testimony from officials about a personal email server Clinton used while secretary of State and whether the Obama administration deliberately tried to thwart federal recordkeeping and transparency laws.

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The fact-gathering process, formally known as discovery, “will help Judicial Watch get all of the facts behind Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama State Department’s thwarting of [the Freedom of Information Act] 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,” Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The list of witnesses that the organization wants to testify includes longtime aides to Clinton, who is now the Democratic presidential front-runner, as well as career State Department bureaucrats.

Tuesday’s filing asks for information from Clinton’s ex-chief of staff Cheryl Mills; former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin; undersecretary for management Patrick Kennedy; IT official Bryan Pagliano, who helped set up Clinton's server; senior security infrastructure coordinator Donald Reid; State Department officials Lewis Lukens and Stephen Mull; and an unnamed State Department witness who can talk about the creation of Clinton’s personal email system.

While opening the door to the aides' testimony last month, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia demanded that any questioning be “narrowly tailored” to the lawsuit at hand, which seeks government documents about an unusual work arrangement that allowed Abedin to work for both the State Department and an outside consulting firm. The case is one of several that have evolved into broader probes of Clinton’s use of a personal email server.

Clinton herself could eventually be asked to testify, Sullivan said at the time.

The State Department has until April 5 to respond to Judicial Watch’s proposal. The watchdog group would then have 10 days to respond. 

After April 15, Sullivan will rule on whether Judicial Watch’s plan can go ahead. 

The judge's decision last month to allow for Clinton’s aides to testify under oath assured that the ongoing fracas over the former secretary of State’s email arrangement will continue for months, looming over the presidential election calendar.

Judicial Watch said on Tuesday that it would need eight weeks to conduct the depositions, potentially stretching the first round of testimony through to June.

Clinton has repeatedly shrugged off criticism about the bespoke system, claiming that it was a simple “mistake” that she made for convenience.