A federal judge has granted Judicial Watch’s motion for discovery into whether the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliberately thwarted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for six years. The Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit was seeking records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former deputy chief of staff to Clinton.
According to the Washington Times, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan even questioned the Obama administration’s “good faith” in the matter, and said he may end up issuing a subpoena to force Clinton and Abedin to turn over their entire accounts to the government.
That could give the group — and the broader public — answers as to who approved Mrs. Clinton’s unique arrangement, who else in government knew about it and why they shielded it for so long. It also could force Mrs. Clinton to answer questions about how she sorted through her account and decided which messages she didn’t want to turn over to the government.
Judge Sullivan said he is “inclined” to issue a subpoena demanding that Mrs. Clinton and top aide Huma Abedin turn over the entire email system they used. He delayed that decision, saying he will wait to see what he learns from the discovery process, but was irked by answers the Obama administration has given. “How on earth can the court conclude there is not at minimum a reasonable suspicion of bad faith?” Judge Sullivan said.
Judge Sullivan initially announced his ruling from the bench during a hearing this morning and, over the objections of the State Department, authorized Judicial Watch to submit a plan for “narrowly-tailored discovery.” Judge Sullivan is also considering whether to order the State Department to subpoena all the emails on the clinton.com email system.
The no-nonsense Sullivan added that the State Department had hurt its own case by repeatedly claiming that it had conducted a full search, only to come back later and admit it found places it hadn’t checked. “It just boggles the mind that the State Department allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place,” the judge said.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said on Fox Business Tuesday evening that it was “extraordinary” for a federal judge to order interrogation and deposition under oath of government and campaign officials under a FOIA request.
“It’s rarely granted in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits,” Fitton said.
Fitton issued the following statement at Judicial Watch:
Judge Sullivan’s ruling granting Judicial Watch’s request for discovery is a major victory for the public’s right to know the truth about Hillary Clinton’s email system. The court-ordered discovery will help determine why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton, even despite receiving numerous FOIA requests, kept the record system secret for years. Our proposed discovery, which will require court approval, will include testimony of current and former officials of the State Department. While Mrs. Clinton’s testimony may not be required initially, it may happen that her testimony is necessary for the Court to resolve the legal issues about her unprecedented email practices.
Count on things to get worse for Hillary before they get even worse.