Watchdog pushes for Clinton deposition over 'evolving explanation'

Watchdog pushes for Clinton deposition over 'evolving explanation'
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The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is arguing that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE’s “evolving explanation” for her personal email server necessitates a deposition of the former secretary of State herself.

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In a Tuesday filing, the group cited a recent interview with CBS News during which Clinton said “it was recommended that it would be convenient” for her to use a private server during her time in office.

“Based on her testimony to the Benghazi Select Committee, the statement on her campaign website, and her purported answers to the FBI’s questions, it is nowhere even suggested that Secretary Clinton’s decision to use the clintonemail.com system for official government business was based on someone else’s recommendation,” Judicial Watch lawyer Michael Bekesha wrote.

“Because of the evolving explanation, Secretary Clinton’s deposition is necessary to effectively and efficiently understand how the decision was made and the motivation behind it.”

The group has brought a bevy of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the State Department, arguing in several that Clinton needs to be deposed to answer its questions about how and why the unauthorized system was created and maintained.

At issue is whether Clinton deliberately tried to circumvent public records laws through her use of the server.

These civil cases are separate from the FBI investigation, which looked at whether she transferred classified information through the unauthorized server. The Department of Justice recently announced that it would not be pressing criminal charges in the matter.

Judicial Watch has requested three hours of testimony, insisting that Clinton has only answered “very general” questions about her motivation while under oath.

Those questions, Bekesha has said, only addressed her motivation for setting up the server in the first place and did not cover her thought process for continuing to use it when she became subject to FOIA requests as secretary of State.

Lawyers representing both the former secretary of State and the State Department have pushed back on the request, insisting that there is no legal basis to force Clinton to testify and no new information to be gained.

But Clinton’s Sunday interview with CBS News’s Scott Pelley, Judicial Watch argued Tuesday, constitutes “new information.”

Clinton has maintained that she used the system for the sake of convenience, and FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that the claim is in line with the agency's "best information" on her motivations.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has said he will issue a ruling on whether Clinton will be forced to testify as soon as he can.