Opinion| I can’t explain how we missed this one.
On January 15th, 2019, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch announced that United States District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, originally appointed by Ronald Reagan, made a sweeping ruling in favor of transparency, something that was rarely in play during the Obama administration.
Judge Lamberth ordered that senior Obama administration officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath.
Americans, who have been waiting for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and high level Obama administration officials to be held accountable for their crimes, and the lies they told to cover their misfeasance, may finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s long been suspected that the inflow of “donations” to the Clinton Foundation, that coincided with decisions by Secretary of State Clinton, were evidence of a pay-to-play scheme.
The Uranium One investigation squashed by then-FBI director Robert Mueller stands as just one example.
This New York Times headline is unmistakable”:
Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal
In a statement posted to its website, Judicial Watch says it will seek answers to:
- Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
- whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
- whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.
Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days.
Even more promising is that following this initial discovery period, Judge Lamberth ordered a hearing to decide whether additional depositions of would be merited.
Additional deponents could include Hillary Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Lamberth ruled that Judicial Watch may depose:
- Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
- Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
- Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.
Judicial Watch seeks to go beyond cursory, second-hand testimony and directly ask Finney what he knew about Clinton’s email use. This includes asking about emails suggesting he knew about her private email use in 2014, and emails he received concerning a December 2012 FOIA request from Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding senior officials’ personal email use-topics State’s 30(b)(6) deposition in Judge Sullivan’s case never addressed. Judicial Watch may depose Finney.
- Heather Samuelson. the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate State’s receipt of Hillary Clinton’s emails.… [T]his case turns on what specific government employees knew and when they knew it. Judicial Watch must be able to take their direct testimony and ask them follow-up questions. Judicial Watch may depose Samuelson.
- Jacob Sullivan. Secretary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy Chief of Staff. The government does not oppose Sullivan’s deposition.
The statement from JW notes that incredibly, Justice Department attorneys admit in a filing opposing Judicial Watch’s limited discovery that “Counsel for State contacted the counsel of some third parties that Plaintiff originally included in its draft discovery proposal to obtain their client’s position on being deposed.”
This collusion occurred despite criticism from the Court that the DOJ engaged in “chicanery” to cover up misconduct and that career employees in the State and Justice Departments may have “colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”
It took a long time for JW to get us to this point. Hopefully, we finally learn the truth about why U.S. personnel in Libya were left to die.
And, for those who are really optimistic, with former FBI counterintelligence director Bill Priestap among the deponents, we can hold out hope that the Russia-Wikileaks-Trump narrative will finally be debunked.
At the very least, when it comes to the hacked servers, we may get answers to why the FBI allowed third-party contractors and Clinton’s lawyers to perform the forensic analysis on them and not the most advanced cyber forensics lab in the world.
The process of discovery, is by its very nature, a tedious one. Answers to initial questions often lead to additional questions and additional deponents as insight into the depth of the corruption begins to be uncovered.
Have at it, Judicial Watch.