Group demands Clinton testimony in email case

Group demands Clinton testimony in email case
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A conservative watchdog group on Friday asked a federal court to interview Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket MORE under oath about her email setup, the second such request.

Judicial Watch told the court that seven aides it has already interviewed did not satisfy its questions about the State Department’s system for complying with requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


Now, Clinton herself would need to be deposed to discuss the private email setup she used while secretary of State and whether it skirted transparency laws, the group claimed.  

“Although significant progress has been made in uncovering evidence concerning the creation and use of the system and the State Department’s approach and practice for processing FOIA … important questions remain,” lawyers said in a filing to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was “the primary driving force behind and principal user of the system,” the group added, making her testimony “crucial to understanding how and why the system was created and operated.”

“It also is crucial to understanding why the secretary chose to use the system for all her official email communications, not only initially but also after the system proved to be so problematic for the department, top departmental officials, and the secretary herself.”

The judge, Emmet Sullivan, has previously said that Clinton may be forced to appear as part of the open records lawsuit, depending on whether or not the issue is resolved by previous witnesses.

Judicial Watch “still requires definitive answers” to questions about the purpose of Clinton’s email server, why she continued to use it throughout her tenure, how records were stored and other topics, lawyers claimed on Friday. 

The group has previously requested that Clinton be deposed in a separate but similar FOIA lawsuit pending in federal courts. The Obama administration has fought that request.

Friday’s filing comes shortly after the Justice Department announced that it would not press charges against Clinton or any of her aides for using the bespoke email system despite evidence that classified information was mishandled. The announcement removed a potentially devastating blow for Clinton’s presidential campaign but did little to quiet the furor surrounding her email habits.

A deposition about the email system would further stoke the public scrutiny of her setup and could add to the lagging public criticism that she is untrustworthy.

Odds that Sullivan will grant Judicial Watch’s request may have gone up slightly in recent weeks, when IT aide Bryan Pagliano refused to answer Judicial Watch’s questions.

In addition to Clinton, Judicial Watch also asked the court for permission to interview John Bentel, a State Department IT official, and Clarence Finney, who was previously responsible for the State Department’s FOIA requests.

Another department official told Judicial Watch that Finney raised questions about Clinton’s email use after a popular image of her on her BlackBerry made the rounds on the internet.