Federal Court Orders Discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes to Respond to Judicial Watch Questions Under Oath

Seven Other Top State Department/Clinton Aides Must also Respond to Judicial Watch Queries

 

Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:

Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.

Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:

  1. Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
  2. Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
  3. Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.

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Judicial Watch seeks to go beyond cursory, second-hand testimony and directly ask Finney what he knew about Clinton’s email use. This includes asking about emails suggesting he knew about her private email use in 2014, and emails he received concerning a December 2012 FOIA request from Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding senior officials’ personal email use-topics State’s 30(b)(6) deposition in Judge Sullivan’s case never addressed. Judicial Watch may depose Finney.

4. Heather Samuelson. the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate State’s receipt of Hillary Clinton’s emails.… [T]his case turns on what specific government employees knew and when they knew it. Judicial Watch must be able to take their direct testimony and ask them follow-up questions. Judicial Watch may depose Samuelson.

5. Jacob Sullivan. Secretary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy Chief of Staff. The government does not oppose Sullivan’s deposition.

Regarding whether the State Department’s settlement attempts that began in late 2014 amounted to “bad faith,” Judicial Watch was granted depositions from the State Department under Rule 30(b)(6); Finney; John Hackett, the former deputy director of State’s Office of Information Programs & Services; Gene Smilansky, an attorney-advisor within State’s Office of the Legal Advisor; Samuelson; and others.

Judicial Watch was also granted interrogatories on whether the State Department adequately searched for responsive records, as well as several document requests.

“In a major victory for accountability, Judge Lamberth today authorized Judicial Watch to take discovery on whether the Clinton email system evaded FOIA and whether the Benghazi scandal was one reason for keeping Mrs. Clinton’s email secret,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Today, Judicial Watch issued document requests and other discovery to the State Department about the Clinton email scandal. Next up, we will begin questioning key witnesses under oath.”

The court-ordered discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:

  • Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

The Judicial Watch discovery plan was in response to a December 6, 2018, ruling by Judge Lamberth.

Incredibly, Justice Department attorneys admit in a filing opposing Judicial Watch’s limited discovery that “Counsel for State contacted the counsel of some third parties that Plaintiff originally included in its draft discovery proposal to obtain their client’s position on being deposed.” This collusion occurred despite criticism from the Court that the DOJ engaged in “chicanery” to cover up misconduct and that career employees in the State and Justice Departments may have “colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”

Judicial Watch countered that “[t]he government’s proposal, which is really nothing more than an opposition to [Judicial Watch’s] plan, demonstrates that it continues to reject any impropriety on its part and that it seeks to block any meaningful inquiry into its ‘outrageous misconduct.’”

This Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.

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Benghazi Scandal Not Over: Obama Official Admitted It Had Nothing to Do with Protests

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Image via shariaunveiled.wordpress.com

 

Family Security Matters

by TOM FITTON

 

The Clinton/Obama Benghazi scandal is not over.  Not by a long shot.

Last week we released 54 pages of State Department documents, including a transcript of a September 12, 2012, telephone conference call with congressional staffers in which then-Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy admitted that the deadly terrorist assault on the Benghazi Consulate was not “under cover of protest,” but was, in fact, “a direct breaching attack.”

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Federal Judge Reopens Suit to Obtain Huma Abedin’s Clinton E-Mails

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National Review
A federal judge has reopened a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that aims to obtain e-mails between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her longtime aide, Huma Abedin, saying that the discovery of Clinton’s private server warranted the revival of the case.
Judicial Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group, asked the judge to find that Clinton had committed fraud, but he demurred, choosing instead to rely on a rule that allowed for the case to be reopened due to a change in circumstances. The State Department agreed that this rule applied.
“The Court will rely upon that provision, rather than spilling ink to resolve their dispute as to whether Judicial Watch has submitted clear and convincing evidence of fraud by the State Department,” Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in his order today. Though Sullivan declined to definitively vindicate their fraud accusation, Judicial Watch hailed the ruling as a victory.
“The reopening of this case brings Judicial Watch one step closer to forcing the State Department to ensure that the government records in Hillary Clinton’s ‘secret’ email system are properly preserved, protected and recovered as federal law requires,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Ms. Abedin is part of the Clinton cash-raising operation and was even involved in the Benghazi scandal, so this lawsuit could not be more timely.”
Abedin has long served as one of Clinton’s closest aides, but Politico reported in May that she was given “special government employee” status that allowed her to work for outside clients — including one that advises foreign governments — while remaining on the State Department payroll. She is also the staffer who asked Bill Clinton’s team to allow Hillary Clinton to host her e-mails on a private server that the former president had already established, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “Privately,” that report noted, “aides of the former president worried that adding her account would make the system a target for hackers.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420063/hillary-clinton-email-lawsuit-reopened

Judicial Watch Announces Three New Lawsuits against Administration for Records Relating to Benghazi Attack

Family Security Matters

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Departments of State and Defense in its continuing effort to force the Obama administration to provide access to records concerning what occurred in the days immediately before, during, and after the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:14-cv-01508)) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01511)) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).

Earlier this year, as a result of a separate FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch forced the release of an email from then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes showing that the Obama White House was behind the false talking points that blamed an Internet video and spontaneous demonstrations for the Benghazi attack.  This belated disclosure, which was kept from Congress, spurred House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to request and obtain House approval for a special Select Committee, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), to investigate the Benghazi scandal.

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Charles Krauthammer Says Americans Now Have the ‘Smoking Document’ in Benghazi Scandal

The Blaze

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday said the American people have the “smoking document” that proves the Obama administration took part in a cover up in the aftermath of the deadly Benghazi terrorist attacks.

Judicial Watch has released newly declassified emails that suggest top-ranking Obama administration officials coordinated in 2012 to make it appear that the deadly attacks on the U.S. facilities in Libya were sparked by an “Internet video” and not “a broader failure or policy.”

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Adm. James Lyons (Ret.) on Growing Benghazi Scandal

Family Security Matters

The  nominations of John Brennan for CIA Director and Chuck Hagel for   Secretary of Defense are being held up by Republicans in the Senate  largely  because of the unwillingness of the Obama administration to come  clean on the  what the President knew, when he knew it, and what he did  during the seven  hours that the Temporary Mission and the annex in  Benghazi were under attack on  September 11th and 12th last year.

AIM  recently interviewed Retired Admiral James Lyons. He is the  former  Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific fleet, and a man not afraid to   tell it like it is. We need more men like Admiral Lyons to stand up to  the  lies, hypocrisy and political correctness that so dominates our  national  dialogue today.

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Benghazi bungle achieves absolute zero “accountability”

Human Events

Even in the new Obama era of high-level irresponsibility – in which the words “I take responsibility” are a magic spell, chanted to ward off consequences – it’s remarkable to achieve absolutely zero accountability for a deadly outrage like Benghazi.  But that’s exactly what happened.  The most serious price paid by anyone turns out to be U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice failing to get her desired promotion to Secretary of State, and that’s not much of a “punishment.”  Also, Rice played a key role in the Administration cover-up, but she had nothing to do with the decisions that got four Americans killed.

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