By National Review. The Justice Department has declined to join former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s effort to block depositions of both herself and a key aide in a case concerning her use of a private email-server system to conduct Obama administration business.
Though the DOJ’s decision will inevitably be reported as political retribution against President Trump’s 2016 election rival, there is actually nothing much here. The Trump State and Justice Departments have defended the former secretary throughout the suit in question. The government’s refusal to support Clinton’s latest gambit to avoid answering questions under oath is consistent with Justice Department policy and will have no bearing on the outcome of the case.
The depositions of Clinton and Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s State Department chief-of-staff and longtime confidant, were ordered by federal judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia. The case is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit brought by Judicial Watch, the private-watchdog group. It focuses on talking points the Obama administration generated to guide official public statements following the 2012 jihadist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. (Read more from “Justice Department Declines to Support Blocking Hillary Clinton Deposition” HERE)
U.S. Justice Dept. Opposes Hillary Clinton’s Challenge to Rare Deposition Order
By The National Law Journal. . .Clinton, represented by a team from Williams & Connolly, and former aide Cheryl Mills last month appealed a Washington trial judge’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Their case tests the high bar that plaintiffs must hurdle to secure a deposition involving a current or former cabinet secretary. Mills is represented by lawyers from the litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh.
The U.S. State Department, represented by the Justice Department, said in a recent filing at the D.C. Circuit that the government “does not support the extraordinary relief of mandamus due to the unique circumstances of this case.” The Justice Department historically has resisted efforts by plaintiffs to depose high-ranking officials; the government’s legal team in the Clinton case argued that the dispute over Clinton’s email practices falls outside the realm in which the United States might otherwise have fought efforts to depose her.
“This is the rare situation in which discovery of a former cabinet secretary was not authorized for the impermissible purpose of probing internal government decisionmaking regarding official policy, but rather to focus on the impact on FOIA compliance of a former official’s unusual decision to use a private email server to systematically conduct large volumes of official business,” Mark Freeman, a Justice Department appellate lawyer, wrote in the April 3 filing. (Read more from “U.S. Justice Dept. Opposes Hillary Clinton’s Challenge to Rare Deposition Order” HERE)