Judge orders Clinton to answer questions about email server
For months, Hillary Clinton had been stonewalling Judicial Watch, who wanted to depose her in their FOIA lawsuit seeking information on her emails and private server. J.W. wanted to interview her in person and under oath.
Now a federal judge has ruled that Clinton must answer questions under oath posed by J.W., but she can do it in writing.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order as part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. The group had sought to question Clinton under oath and in person, but the judge ruled she would only have to answer questions in writing.
FBI Director James Comey announced last month that the agency would not seek criminal charges against Clinton after an investigation into her email use, although he concluded she been "extremely careless" in her handling of sensitive material.
Judicial Watch's Director of Investigations Chris Farrell said that while they would have preferred to have Clinton answer questions in person, the decision represented a victory for the organization.
“Judicial Watch will get Clinton under oath regarding the set-up of her outlaw server – something no other person, organization or agency has been ableto do, to date," he said.
“We believe it is a victory for law and order to get Hillary Clinton under oath answering questions about the server setup and why she did it,” he said.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign was glad that the judge had allowed Clinton to answer questions in writing.
"Judicial Watch is a right-wing organization that has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s," Fallon said. "This is just another lawsuit intended to try to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign, and so we are glad that the judge has accepted our offer to answer these questions in writing rather than grant Judicial Watch's request."
Judge Sullivan said Judicial Watch must submit its questions to Clinton by Oct. 14 and gave Clinton 30 days to respond -- a timetable that could push Clinton's answers past the November election unless Judicial Watch sends its questions earlier than mid-October.
Obviously, her written answers are going to be as unresponsive as she can get away with. With every word vetted by her lawyers, it's not likely we're going to learn anything new.
But Clinton has had trouble explaining why she set up the private email server in the first place. She told the FBI that Colin Powell had suggested it to her over dinner, but Powell says he doesn't recall any such conversation. If she changes that story, she can be arrested for lying to the FBI – a crime that sent Scooter Libby to jail. If she sticks with it, J.W. will no doubt depose Colin Powell and expose her lying under oath.
Hillary and Bill have been in tight spots like this before and have always been able to wiggle free. It's probable that her legal team will find a way for her to avoid the legal traps being set by Judicial Watch.