The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is apparently for Clinton’s schedules, not her emails. In March 2015, it will be reported the request still had not be fulfilled, causing the Associated Press to finally sue to force the issue. (The New York Times, 3/3/2015) (The Associated Press, 3/11/2015)
Judicial Watch formally asks US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth for permission to depose Clinton as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
This is actually one of two similar cases involving Judicial Watch and Clinton. In the other case, handled by federal judge Emmet Sullivan, Judicial Watch has not asked for Clinton’s deposition yet, but they may do so in the future, and they are deposing some of her former aides. In this case, Clinton could be forced to testify under oath about her use of a private email account for government work as well as the State Department’s response to FOIA requests for information related to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. (Politico, 05/16/2016)
US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan grants a recent request from Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills to keep audio and video recordings of her upcoming deposition from being made public, at least for now. Mills, who is due to be deposed one day later, argued that such recordings could be used for political purposes against Clinton in the presidential election.
Sullivan writes, “The public has a right to know details related to the creation, purpose and use of the clintonemail.com system. Thus, the transcripts of all depositions taken in this case will be publicly available. It is therefore unnecessary to also make the audiovisual recording of Ms. Mills’ deposition public.” On his own initiative, Sullivan blocks the release of all audio and video recordings of the five other former Clinton aides due to be deposed in the suit he is presiding over.
Politico reports, “Sullivan did not signal what his concern was about improper use of the videos, nor did he explain whether he agreed with Mills’ attorneys that the videos were more susceptible to misuse or distortion than the written transcripts that will be released.” Sullivan orders that the audio and video should be filed with the court, raising the possibility they could be released later. (Politico, 5/26/2016)
Justice Department lawyers oppose Judicial Watch’s request that Clinton give a sworn deposition. There are two closely related civil suits in which Judicial Watch has been granted the right of discovery, allowing them to depose witnesses. Six of Clinton’s former aides are already being deposed in the suit presided over by federal judge Emmet Sullivan.
Judicial Watch recently requested that Clinton be deposed in the other suit, presided over by federal judge Royce Lamberth. However, department lawyers argue that Lamberth should let the depositions in the other case play out before allowing Clinton to be deposed in his case. They call the request “wholly inappropriate,” adding, “Judicial Watch makes no attempt here to justify why the witnesses it names would provide any relevant information that is not redundant and cumulative of the discovery that has already been ordered and initiated.”
However, while they oppose Clinton being deposed, they do not oppose Judicial Watch’s request to depose former Clinton aide Jake Sullivan. So far, Judicial Watch has not asked for Clinton or Sullivan to be deposed in the other suit. (Politico, 5/27/2016)
Lawyers for Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano say he “will assert the Fifth Amendment and will decline to answer each and every question” when deposed by Judicial Watch as part of a civil suit on June 6.
Pagliano previously refused to speak to the House Benghazi Committee or Congressional investigators. However, it has been reported that he made an immunity deal with the Justice Department as part of cooperating with the FBI’s Clinton investigation.
Also, despite the fact that Pagliano plans on not answering any questions, his lawyers also ask that no video recording of his deposition be made. US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has already ruled that videos of the deposition should be put under seal. However, Pagliano’s lawyers argue there still could be a chance a video could be released later. (Politico, 6/1/2016) (The Hill, 6/1/2016)
Two days later, Sullivan announces that Pagliano’s deposition will be postponed until issues about his pleading the Fifth are resolved. Sullivan has asked Pagliano’s lawyers to reveal the scope of the immunity deal between Pagliano and the Justice Department, and how that could affect this civil case. There are different types of immunity deals, and until now it hasn’t been clear which type applies to Pagliano. (Politico, 6/3/2016) (The Hill, 6/3/2016)
The Republican National Committee (RNC) previously filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for emails from Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, her former deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, computer technician Bryan Pagliano, and Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy (who still holds that job).
In a court filing, department lawyers argue that hundreds of emails would be involved, and going through them all “would impose an unreasonable burden on the [department].” Lawyers further allege, “FOIA requests are not supposed to be labored over for generations.”
Politico comments, “The literary turn of phrase is likely to prompt some mockery from FOIA requesters who’ve waited years for State to respond to much narrower requests than the GOP’s and faced such waits long before the agency was deluged with requests prompted by the disclosure of Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.” (Politico, 6/1/2016)
In a legal case, Vice News journalist Jason Leopold has tried to get the FBI to reveal more details of their investigation. The FBI has refused to do so, but in a court filing, the FBI comments: “[A]ll of the materials retrieved from any electronic equipment obtained from former Secretary Clinton for the investigation are evidence, potential evidence, or information that has not yet been assessed for evidentiary value.” Furthermore, the release of any of that additional information “could reasonably be expected to interfere with the pending investigation.” (The Hill, 6/8/2016)
In a court filing in a civil suit, they argue they cannot do this since the department has never been in possession of the server. It is known that Clinton and her deputy chief of staff had clintonemail.com email accounts on the server, but it is still unclear who else at the department may have. Apparently, Department officials have not tried to check if emails sent from Clinton’s former top aides had email addresses ending in clintonemail.com. (CNN, 6/9/2016)
Two weeks earlier, the department claimed it could take 75 years to process the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request by the RNC [Republican National Committee]. The RNC is asking for more emails from Under Secretary of Management Patrick Kennedy, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, and Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano. They have dropped a request for emails from former Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, due to the department’s claim of being overwhelmed.
The RNC criticizes the department’s “tortoise-like” response, and claims it is using “stall tactics” and misleading legal tricks in order to delay the release until after the November 2016 presidential election. It lambasts the department’s claim that it can process only 500 pages of emails a month, noting that would set a historical record for the slowest department response time to FOIA requests.
It is probable that the emails would contain previously unknown emails to and from Clinton, since recently released emails from former Clinton aide Huma Abedin have done so. (The Hill, 6/21/2016)
In a court filing, the conservative watchdog group Citizens United asks a judge to order the State Department to speed up the release of emails between the department and four Clinton Foundation officials, namely: Chelsea Clinton (the daughter of Bill and Hillary), Amitabh Desai (the foundation’s director of foreign policy), and Justin Cooper and Oscar Flores, two Bill Clinton aides who also have worked for the foundation.
A judge has ordered the department to release emails in monthly batches, due to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Citizens United. But the department has only released 17 emails in its first two monthly batches, despite saying it has found nearly 4,000 emails that match the request.
Citizens United wants the emails released before the November 2016 general election, but they say that at the current pace, it would take 38 years for the department to release them all. (The Free Beacon, 6/23/2016)