The Clinton email and Benghazi scandals aren’t over. Not by a long shot.
Just last week, Judicial Watch’s attorneys asked a federal court for additional discovery. In addition to document requests, the new Revised Discovery Proposal asks for depositions from Clinton, Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and eight other State Department officials to explore "evidence of wrongdoing or bad faith with respect to State Department’s response" to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request as well as some earlier FOIA requests.
The Jan. 10 filing is the latest move in our July 2014 FOIA lawsuit seeking records related to the drafting and use of the Benghazi talking points (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). This lawsuit forced the Clinton email issue into the public eye in early 2015.
In March 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth granted “limited discovery” to Judicial Watch, ruling that “where there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA cases.” In May 2016, we filed an initial Proposed Order for Discovery seeking written and oral information. (In December Judge Lamberth requested both parties to file new proposed orders in light of information discovered in various venues since last May.)
You won’t be surprised to learn that the thoroughly corrupt Obama State Department opposed our proposal.
In last week’s filing, we informed the court that despite repeated conferences with the State Department, they had been "unable to reach agreement on a discovery proposal" and that “Defendant [State Department] is unwilling to agree to any discovery at all in this action.” Judicial Watch’s new discovery proposal focuses on “two main areas:”
These areas are:
1) Evidence of wrongdoing or bad faith with respect to State Department’s response to Plaintiff’s FOIA request for records related to the talking points provided to U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice following the September 11, 2012 Benghazi, Libya attack.
2) Potential remedies that may ensure a sufficient search for responsive records is undertaken.
Our Revised Discovery Proposal seeks both documents and depositions. The documents requested include:
- All documents that concern or relate to the processing of any and all searches of the Office of the Secretary for emails relating to the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack and its aftermath
- All communications that concern or relate to the processing of all searches referenced in the document request immediately above, including directions or guidance about how and where to conduct the searches
- All records that concern or relate to the State Department’s policies, practices, procedures and/or actions (or lack thereof) to secure, inventory, and/or account for all records
- Plaintiff requests copies of the attached records [previously obtained by Judicial Watch] with the Exemption 5 redactions removed
In addition to basic documents, we think testimony is essential, including a deposition of Hillary Clinton to learn:
[the] identification of individuals (whether State Department officials, other government officials, or third-parties, including but not limited to Sidney Blumenthal) with whom Secretary Clinton may have communicated by email.
We are asking to depose former Clinton aides, including Cheryl Mills, chief of staff; Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning; Heather Samuelson, head of the White House Liaison Office; Lauren Jiloty, Special Assistant; and Monica Hanley, confidential assistant.
Also on the list is Clarence Finney, currently Deputy Director of the State Department’s Executive Secretariat Staff; Sheryl L. Walter, who was director of the Office of Information Program and Services; and Gene Smilansky, a department lawyer.
In one of their last gasps of obstruction of justice, the Obama State Department continues to oppose court-ordered efforts to gather the facts from Secretary Hillary Clinton and her top aides about how their email practices violated the American people's right to know what really happened in Benghazi.
The Trump administration must now decide whether to reverse course on this desperate, last minute obstruction.
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption. A former talk radio and television host and analyst, Tom is well known across the country as a national spokesperson for the conservative cause. He has been quoted in Time, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and most every other major newspaper in the country. For more of his reports, Go Here Now
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