Hillary Clinton has 30 days to answer more questions under oath regarding her private email account or face contempt of court charges, a federal court judge ruled Wednesday.
“Breaking: Court rules late today Hillary Clinton must answer more email questions — including key q’s about the setting up of her email system,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton tweeted after a hearing in federal court.
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Under oath in October 2016 — near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign — Clinton answered “does not recall” to 20 out of 25 written questions regarding her private email server. However in 2018, with a new Attorney General in place, the feeling in D.C. is that the noose is slowly tightening around Clinton’s neck.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan heard the case, which stems from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit regarding the controversial employment status of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who was granted a “special government employee” designation to accept outside employment while she was working at the State Department.
Breaking: Court rules late today Hillary Clinton must answer more email questions — including key q's about the setting up of her email system. Court denied our request to unseal vid depositions of Clinton aides. Great work by Michael Bekesha! https://t.co/VBKkm3H8gi pic.twitter.com/00k6pRsHNe
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 15, 2018
Washington Examiner reports:
Judicial Watch sought to compel further answers from Clinton after her written testimony under oath in October 2016 regarding her Clinton.com, non-state.gov email system.
In a phone conversation with the Washington Examiner, Fitton said Clinton will have 30 days to answer the questions in writing under oath, pertaining to the set-up of the email and any advisories she got about her emails from the State Department.
Fitton, who said he was joined in the courtroom Wednesday only by Michael Bekesha, a member Judicial Watch’s legal team, said it ruling was a “great development.”
However, he said it was “outrageous” that the two years into the Trump administration that the Justice Department and State Department were still “defending Hillary Clinton.”
Clinton’s use of an unauthorized private email server to handle government business during her time as secretary of state has been the subject to a great deal of controversy and investigations, including one by the FBI which determined that Clinton’s team was “extremely careless” in handling classified information. The agency did not, however, recommend criminal charges against anyone involved with Clinton’s private email network.
The watchdog group’s motion additionally sought to make public audiovisual recordings of the depositions from top Clinton aides and State Department officials, including Abedin and Cheryl Mills. However, Fitton said their request to unseal them was denied.
Fitton told the Washington Examiner that Judicial Watch was not successful in also seeking to force testimony from John Bentel, the State Department’s former director of information resource management of the executive secretariat, who asserted his right under the Fifth Amendment and did not answer deposition questions.
Under oath in October 2016 — near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign — Clinton answered “does not recall” to 20 out of 25 written questions.
The questions, all related to her emails, touched on whether she recalled being advised about possible violations of federal record-keeping laws by using a private email account to conduct official State Department business.
On the question about the “creation” of the clintonemail.com system, Clinton’s team had replied that it was “outside the scope of permitted discovery,” noting that the court “permitted discovery in this case on the question of ‘the purpose for the creation and operation of the clintonemail.com system for State Department business.’”
Clinton also said she did not recall deleting her emails related to State Department business, nor did she remember ordering any of her staff to do so.
The deletion of about 33,000 emails by a technician has led to some critics, including President Trump, to accuse Clinton of a cover-up, although the FBI has not found any evidence to support such claims.
Fitton accuses the FBI and Justice Department of protecting Clinton, even to this day.