News & Politics

State Department Fights Request to Depose Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a United Food and Commercial Workers International union Legislative and Political Affairs conference, Thursday, May 26, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

For some reason, the most transparent administration in American history does not want former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be questioned about her email set-up.

Lawyers for the State Department filed a court motion late Thursday evening denying a Clinton deposition request from Judicial Watch, claiming in their filing that the conservative watchdog group’s request was “overbroad and duplicative.”

Via The Hill:

Judicial Watch is “seeking instead to transform these proceedings into a wide-ranging inquiry into matters beyond the scope of the court’s order and unrelated to the FOIA request at issue in this case,” government lawyers wrote in their filing, referring to the Freedom of Information Act.

The lawyers wrote that the request to interview Clinton “is wholly inappropriate” before depositions are finished in a separate case also concerning the email server.

Judicial Watch’s FOIA case began as a way to seek documents about talking points related to the 2012 terror attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, but has since grown to encompass wider questions about Clinton’s use of a personal server while working as secretary of State.

In March, Judge Royce Lamberth gave the order that allowed Judicial Watch to demand depositions in the case, citing “evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith.”

This lawsuit is the second of its kind launched by Judicial Watch regarding Clinton’s email system. The State Department has opposed Judicial Watch’s requests for discovery in both of the lawsuits. In the other case, interviews of current and former Clinton aides — including Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin — began this month.

Judicial Watch has released the deposition transcript of Lewis Lukens, former deputy assistant secretary of State and executive director of the State Department’s executive secretariat (the transcript is available here). During his deposition, Lukens indicated he did not know Clinton was using non-State.gov emails and computer equipment for government business.

According to Judicial Watch, this suggests “the agency is seeking to distance itself from Mrs. Clinton’s conduct.”

Clinton has not been asked to answer questions as part of that litigation yet, but U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has indicated Clinton may be called upon in the future.

Publicly, Clinton has striven to project an open and transparent stance regarding ongoing investigations into her email arrangement. Clinton told CBS earlier this month:

I think last August I made it clear I’m more than ready to talk to anybody, anytime. And I have encouraged all of my assistants to be very forthcoming, and I hope that this is close to being wrapped up.

However, her words have not matched her behavior:

Notwithstanding that comment, Clinton and her top aides declined to cooperate with a recently completed State Department inspector general probe into how the use of private email accounts by Clinton and previous secretaries affected record-keeping at State. That probe found her actions violated State Department policies, something she has steadfastly denied while acknowledging the arrangement was a “mistake.”

Clinton’s lies about her email server have fallen apart. Yet shockingly enough, Obama’s State Department and Justice Department don’t seem eager to discover the whole truth.