Accompanied by no fewer than seven lawyers for her Judicial Watch deposition last Friday, Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Cheryl Mills, was able to skirt most of the government watchdog’s questions. But according to Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, one of her answers was potentially devastating.
Napolitano explained on America’s Newsroom that Mills may have entered into dangerous territory when she spoke about who would have had access to Clinton’s account in the event that an email needed to be released as part of a FOIA request.
From the deposition, released yesterday:
Attorney: Okay. Did they have access to the Secretary’s e-mail account so they could search her e-mails in response to the FOIA request?
Mills: To my knowledge, they did not have access to her e-mail account. To my knowledge, the information where her e-mail was — if there was a topic that would have been related, would have been in the communications that she would have either had on paper, communications that she would have had in other materials that she received, or in exchanges that she had with e-mail with individuals on their State account.
Napolitano wondered if Mills and her lawyers had really “thought through” that response because it could be “devastating” to Clinton, whose private server is still being investigated by the FBI.
“It means that Mrs. Clinton, Cheryl Mills and Bryan Pagliano – who’s the next person to be deposed in this case if he even answers any questions – engaged in a conspiracy to frustrate the operations of the State Department,” he said, pointing out that the department is required by law to maintain records so they can be accessible to FOIA requests.
Mills’ lawyers repeatedly objected to questions on IT specialist Bryan Pagliano’s role in setting up the server.
Napolitano said people can be prosecuted if they “conspire to frustrate the operations of the government.”
He argued that Clinton created the server specifically to avoid FOIA requests and even used the setup when she was a U.S. senator from New York for eight years.
In a separate Fox News interview today, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said “it was tough going for our attorney Ramona Cotca who was conducting the questioning because the government lawyers and Mrs. Mills’ personal attorney objected vociferously and often to many many of our questions.”
He noted dryly, “Miss Mills admitted that FOIA was impacted negatively and she suggested that they wish they had thought of that at the time.”
According to Fitton, she cited attorney-client privilege to get out of answering questions pertaining to Pagliano. Mills is claiming that she was acting as Clinton’s lawyer when the server was being set up.
Pagliano pleaded the 5th during a closed-door interview with the House Select Committee on Benghazi last September, and struck an immunity deal with the Justice Department in March. It didn’t take long after that for news to leak out that Pagliano was “singing like a bird” to FBI investigators.
“We wanted to know what did they talk about, what did she learn,” Fitton told Fox’s Brian Kilmeade. Because Mills was apparently acting as Mrs. Clinton’s attorney, she was able to avoid such questions.