A federal judge ordered Hillary Clinton to appear for a deposition as part of a lawsuit filed by the watchdog group Judicial Watch, saying in a ruling that the former secretary of state’s written responses so far in the case have “left many more questions than answers” about her decision to use a private email system while in office.
As a federal appeals court grappled on Tuesday with a politically charged dispute that long ago faded from the headlines, one of the most urgent and politically polarizing legal fights of the moment seemed to lurk just below the surface.
The official topic of the arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was Hillary Clinton’s bid to avoid giving an in-person deposition to a conservative group about her use of a private email account and server during her tenure as secretary of state.
The Clinton deposition dispute involve an obscure type of legal mechanism that is not currently a household word but may soon be, at least in Washington: Mandamus.
It’s a process that can be used to force a judge’s hand when an ordinary appeal isn’t available for some reason or just won’t do the trick.
Last month, the appeals court judges assigned to the Clinton email case invited the Justice Department to appear at arguments to explain its position.
The arguments on the Clinton email case on June 2, 2020 held via telephone because of the Corona-virus pandemic, stretched to more than an hour and a half. That was nearly three times more than the court had scheduled.
At least two of the judges assigned to the case seemed to suggest an uphill battle for the former secretary, first lady, senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate by stressing just how infrequently mandamus is granted.
Judge Emmet Sullivan, memorably excoriated Clinton over her use of the private email account and ordered earlier depositions on the issue, including one given by Mills in May 2016 in the midst of the presidential campaign.
Sullivan allowed Clinton to answer written questions under oath instead of being deposed, but another judge handling a separate case recently insisted on a deposition.
Kendall pleaded with the judges on Tuesday to wind down the long-running dispute over the emails, an issue many Democrats contend delivered the presidency to Trump.
Griffith didn’t sound persuaded, suggesting that Clinton could petition the court to have no camera at the deposition or require the recordings to be sealed.
Cotca insisted there was good reason to proceed with the depositions, because Clinton and Mills might help elucidate where Clinton’s emails wound up and could help persuade the State Department to broaden its searches for records.
The State Department now has every incentive to get to the bottom of this. This is no longer Secretary Clinton’s State Department. This is the Trump State Department,” the judge said. “What I gather you’re saying is there’s some kind of cover-up.”
The Supreme Court has held that high-ranking government officials are generally not required to sit for a deposition.
The court has considered the numerous times in which Secretary Clinton said she could not recall or remember certain details in her prior interrogatory answers,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth wrote.
“In a deposition, it is more likely that plaintiff’s counsel could use documents and other testimony to attempt to refresh her recollection. Lamberth added: “The court agrees with Judicial Watch—it is time to hear directly from Secretary Clinton.”
Hillary was in charge when the US Ambassador to Libya was killed in Tripoli during the NATO invasion, after have being surrounded, raped, tortured and set on fire before his death. Ghadaffi’s men murdered him in the same way the USA assassinated their leader.
The National Interest / ABC Flash Point USA News 2020.