Only three people had private Clinton email accounts, aide says

Only three people had private Clinton email accounts, aide says
© Greg Nash

Only two people close to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states California Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate MORE had personal clintonemail.com accounts housed on her private server, longtime deputy Huma Abedin said during a nearly six-hour deposition this week.

Just Abedin, Clinton herself and her daughter, Chelsea, had email accounts through the system, Abedin said during the interview with conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch.  

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At the end of the 2008 presidential race and after Clinton’s term in the Senate came to an end, “I was losing both my email addresses,” Abedin testified.

“So both my, you know, Clinton email addresses were going,” she said. “I needed a new email.”

“I always had an email account associated with the Clinton family ... to deal with their personal matters,” said Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff who has been described as a surrogate daughter. She is currently the vice chairwoman of Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“I used that for the Clinton family matters and, frankly, I used it for my own personal email as well.”

Abedin also had a state.gov email account, which she used for much of her work-related communications, she said.

But “there were occasions” during which she used the clintonemail.com account for work-related purposes, she said.

“I would have given that address to people as my secondary address when state.gov wasn't working,” Abedin said.

“I would have provided my e-mail address to my colleagues who would need to reach me, particularly if we were overseas.”

“Did I think I wasn't allowed to use Clinton email? No,” she said. “I thought that was permitted.”

To obtain her email address and for most of the troubleshooting, Abedin said, she went to former adviser Justin Cooper — not Bryan Pagliano, the contractor who has been granted immunity as part of the FBI’s ongoing investigation connected to Clinton’s server.

“Justin, for the many years before, was our primary point of contact,” Abedin said. “And, frankly, every time anything was broken, you called Justin, it got fixed very quickly.”

“I know Bryan wasn't really involved in anything related to IT for the Clintons until the campaign.”

The new details about the scope of Clinton’s server were contained in a transcript of the deposition released by Judicial Watch on Wednesday.

The deposition was conducted as part of an ongoing open records lawsuit from Judicial Watch accusing the State Department of thwarting federal transparency laws through Clinton’s use of a private email server. 

In the sworn-oath deposition, Abedin characterized Clinton’s use of a private email address as a continuation of her habits before entering the Obama administration.

“She had always had a personal device since she had started using email,” Abedin said.

“That's what she used when she was in the Senate. She did not have a senate.gov account. And she also did not have a Hillary Clinton campaign account,” she added. “I experienced it as continuing the practice that she had had prior to arriving at the State Department, and continuing to use her personal device.”

Abedin’s characterization of Clinton’s rationale matches with the former secretary of State's own explanation, that the use of a private email account was done purely out of convenience and not with any designed to circumvent federal recordkeeping or transparency laws.

The issue has dogged Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for more than a year, however, due to allegations that the setup may have caused the deletion of federal records or may have jeopardized national security secrets.

The FBI is conducting an ongoing investigation related to the arrangement and whether or not Clinton or her senior aides mishandled classified information.

--This report was updated at 3:51 p.m.