Watchdog Group Seeks to Question Hillary Clinton Under Oath in FOIA Lawsuit
The legal watchdog group Judicial Watch on Friday filed a motion to depose Hillary Clinton as part a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks records about the unique employment arrangement of one of Clinton’s top aides, Huma Abedin, when worked at the State Department.
In an order entered earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan left open the possibility that Clinton herself could be deposed at a later date. Judicial Watch states the deposition testimony of Clinton is necessary for a handful reasons, including to provide answers about the purpose of the clintonemail.com system. The motion states:
[Judicial Watch] recognizes the significance of asking a former agency head and presumptive nominee for president to sit for a deposition. As the primary driving force behind and principal user of the clintonemail.com system, however, Secretary Clinton’s testimony is crucial to understanding how and why the system was created and operated. … Plaintiff has attempted to obtain as much evidence as possible from other State Department officials, but Secretary Clinton is an indispensable witness and significant questions remain, including why records management officials apparently had no knowledge of the system when so many other officials used the system to communicate with her. Consequently, Secretary Clinton’s deposition is necessary.
“Hillary Clinton can answer questions about her email practices that no other witness can,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said, according to a press release. “Her testimony will help the court determine if, how, and why FOIA was thwarted by the Clinton email system.”
In addition to Clinton’s testimony, the motion also seeks the testimony of a current State Department official and a former State Department official who are believed to have had knowledge of Clinton’s private email server. According to Judicial Watch, the former official, John Bentel, instructed his staff not to discuss Clinton’s server. “As a result, obtaining Mr. Bentel’s testimony is essential to determine what he knew, when he knew it, and why he did not share the information with the appropriate State Department employees responsible for responding to FOIA requests,” the motion states.
The motion also cites FBI Director James Comey’s remarks that investigators discovered additional “work-related” emails on Clinton’s servers. Lawyers representing the State Department oppose the motion.
UPDATE: 4:30 PM
Judge Sullivan entered an order that oral argument will be held on the motion on July 18, 2016 at 10:00 AM.
READ THE MOTION HERE: