Multiple Obama State Dept Officials Must Answer Judicial Watch's Questions About Clinton Emails, Benghazi
United States District Judge Royce Lamberth on Tuesday ordered multiple senior State Department officials under the Obama administration to answer Judicial Watch’s questions related to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi.
“In a major victory for accountability, Judge Lamberth today authorized Judicial Watch to take discovery on whether the Clinton email system evaded FOIA and whether the Benghazi scandal was one reason for keeping Mrs. Clinton’s email secret,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Today, Judicial Watch issued document requests and other discovery to the State Department about the Clinton email scandal. Next up, we will begin questioning key witnesses under oath.”
Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap will face questions pertaining 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.
The watchdog group plans to grill Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap on the Benghazi scandal. Judicial Watch says the State Department has objected to the questioning because they’re trying to reinforce the Obama administration’s talking points surrounding the attack, specifically about an “internet video” leading to the terrorist attacks on the American consulate, not a failure of policy. We know what the Department’s talking points were because of a declassified email that was produced as a result of a 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails,” the judge wrote.
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