Huma Abedin lawsuit testimony shows Clinton wanting no access to private emails

Judicial Watch has released a transcript of testimony given by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin in connection with a FOIA lawsuit that reveals how the Democratic nominee for president sought to hide her communications from everyone, including the State Department.

The testimony also showed that the State Department was lax in complying with FOIA requests, raising questions about whether the agency followed through at all regarding the simplest of filings.

Associated Press:

Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin said in a legal proceeding that Clinton did not want the private emails that she mixed in with State Department emails on her private computer server to be accessible to "anybody," according to transcripts released Wednesday.

Abedin's comments provided new insight into the highly unusual decision by the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate to operate a private email server in her basement to conduct government business when she served as secretary of state.

[...]

Abedin told lawyers for the conservative group Judicial Watch in a deposition that she could not recall whether she or Clinton discussed with any State Department officials Clinton's use of her server exclusively for government business. Abedin, who was Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the State Department, now works with Clinton's presidential campaign and often travels with the candidate. Abedin used an email account on Clinton's server occasionally for government business, although Abedin also used a government address.

"I assumed it was OK to do," she testified.

[...]

Judicial Watch lawyers repeatedly pressed Abedin to explain Clinton's concern expressed to her in a November 2010 message that her emails might become public, but the longtime aide insisted that Clinton's interest in wanting to keep her personal correspondence from being exposed was similar to any private citizen's.

"I would imagine anybody who has personal email doesn't want that personal email to be read by anybody else," Abedin explained. "I read it the same way as she has written it."

But Clinton's private server contained tens of thousands of work-related emails as well as private messages, and her decision to conduct both private and government business on her system meant that she kept control of both types of correspondence, effectively preventing her State Department correspondence from being archived by the agency and made available for public records requests. It was not until late 2014 - more than a year after Clinton left office - that the State Department learned that she held all of her email and requested that she turn over all work-related records.

Like most federal agencies, the State Department treated citizens' requests for documents with utter contempt:

Abedin's deposition also raised questions about the State Department's practices responding to government records requests under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Abedin, a senior aide during Clinton's entire tenure there, testified under oath that she never searched or was asked to search for documents in her State Department or her private Clinton email accounts in response to requests or lawsuits under the open records law.

But a review of all requests to the State Department during that period found several asking specifically for copies of Abedin's emails on a variety of subjects, including her husband, one-time disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner.

"Did you ever search, were you ever asked to search your state.gov e-mail account in response to a FOIA request or FOIA litigation?" lawyer Ramona Cocta asked.

"I believe I said 'no,'" Abedin answered.

"Were you ever asked to search your Clinton email.com account during your tenure at the State Department in response to a FOIA request or FOIA litigation?" Cocta asked.

"No, I was not," Abedin said.

Clinton dodging her employer's need to archive her work emails was necessary, because she deliberately mixed in her private correspondence.  Perhaps she never thought she'd have to separate them.  She might not have if the State Department hadn't accidently stumbled on the existence of her private server.

There were 33,000 "private" emails deleted by Clinton staff and the hard drive wiped clean.  Reportedly, the FBI has been able to recover a portion of them.  You have to wonder how many more of those emails would contain information damaging to Clinton's case.

Judicial Watch has released a transcript of testimony given by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin in connection with a FOIA lawsuit that reveals how the Democratic nominee for president sought to hide her communications from everyone, including the State Department.

The testimony also showed that the State Department was lax in complying with FOIA requests, raising questions about whether the agency followed through at all regarding the simplest of filings.

Associated Press:

Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin said in a legal proceeding that Clinton did not want the private emails that she mixed in with State Department emails on her private computer server to be accessible to "anybody," according to transcripts released Wednesday.

Abedin's comments provided new insight into the highly unusual decision by the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate to operate a private email server in her basement to conduct government business when she served as secretary of state.

[...]

Abedin told lawyers for the conservative group Judicial Watch in a deposition that she could not recall whether she or Clinton discussed with any State Department officials Clinton's use of her server exclusively for government business. Abedin, who was Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the State Department, now works with Clinton's presidential campaign and often travels with the candidate. Abedin used an email account on Clinton's server occasionally for government business, although Abedin also used a government address.

"I assumed it was OK to do," she testified.

[...]

Judicial Watch lawyers repeatedly pressed Abedin to explain Clinton's concern expressed to her in a November 2010 message that her emails might become public, but the longtime aide insisted that Clinton's interest in wanting to keep her personal correspondence from being exposed was similar to any private citizen's.

"I would imagine anybody who has personal email doesn't want that personal email to be read by anybody else," Abedin explained. "I read it the same way as she has written it."

But Clinton's private server contained tens of thousands of work-related emails as well as private messages, and her decision to conduct both private and government business on her system meant that she kept control of both types of correspondence, effectively preventing her State Department correspondence from being archived by the agency and made available for public records requests. It was not until late 2014 - more than a year after Clinton left office - that the State Department learned that she held all of her email and requested that she turn over all work-related records.

Like most federal agencies, the State Department treated citizens' requests for documents with utter contempt:

Abedin's deposition also raised questions about the State Department's practices responding to government records requests under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Abedin, a senior aide during Clinton's entire tenure there, testified under oath that she never searched or was asked to search for documents in her State Department or her private Clinton email accounts in response to requests or lawsuits under the open records law.

But a review of all requests to the State Department during that period found several asking specifically for copies of Abedin's emails on a variety of subjects, including her husband, one-time disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner.

"Did you ever search, were you ever asked to search your state.gov e-mail account in response to a FOIA request or FOIA litigation?" lawyer Ramona Cocta asked.

"I believe I said 'no,'" Abedin answered.

"Were you ever asked to search your Clinton email.com account during your tenure at the State Department in response to a FOIA request or FOIA litigation?" Cocta asked.

"No, I was not," Abedin said.

Clinton dodging her employer's need to archive her work emails was necessary, because she deliberately mixed in her private correspondence.  Perhaps she never thought she'd have to separate them.  She might not have if the State Department hadn't accidently stumbled on the existence of her private server.

There were 33,000 "private" emails deleted by Clinton staff and the hard drive wiped clean.  Reportedly, the FBI has been able to recover a portion of them.  You have to wonder how many more of those emails would contain information damaging to Clinton's case.