Judge orders Clinton to answer questions on email use

Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton in 2014

Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton in 2014

To suggest in her Federal Bureau of Investigation interview, as the New York Times has reported, that Powell had advised her to use a private email account as secretary of state, as he had done while serving as the nation's top diplomat, is a sneaky way of trying to say there was an ethical and legal equivalence to their email practices.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order August 19, as part of a long-running public records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.

Clinton, in contrast, was regularly sending and receiving classified information over her unsecured, private email server located in her basement, as well as using an unsecured BlackBerry.

But Sullivan said that Judicial Watch was not entitled to depose Clinton, a request which Clinton and the State Department opposed, because he believes that the watchdog can obtain the answers to its questions in less burdensome ways.

"The decision is a reminder that Hillary Clinton is not above the law", Fitton said in the statement.

In a statement provided Friday to The Associated Press, Powell said he emailed Clinton describing his use of a personal AOL account for unclassified messages while leading the State Department under President George W. Bush.

According to Conason's retelling, Clinton replied that she had already chose to continue using the private server in her home she had relied on during her 2008 presidential bid.

FBI Director James Comey however, said that while there was no clear evidence that Clinton and her aides meant to violate secrecy laws, "there is information that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information". Significantly, perhaps, he ordered Clinton to submit her answers within 30 days of that deadline, meaning she could delay her answers until after the election.

The timetable could push Mrs Clinton's answers past the November presidential election unless Judicial Watch sends its questions earlier than mid-October.

"Judicial Watch will get Clinton under oath regarding the set-up of her outlaw server - something no other person, organisation or agency has been ableto do, to date". At that time, Clinton lawyer David Kendall - joined by State and Justice department attorneys - argued questioning of Clinton would be moot because questions about the server had been investigated at length by the FBI, State Department inspector general and Congress.

Powell also was not running a "nonprofit" organization that was raking in millions of dollars from special interests with business before the State Department, sending Mrs. Powell out to collect $350,000 per speech from those special interests, or delegating his staffers to give concierge service to big donors that wanted favors.

Separately, Sullivan denied Judicial Watch's request to depose an official in the State Department's Freedom of Information Act office, Clarence Finney, but approved their request to depose a former IT official, John Bentel. The State Department was ordered to provide any unpublished records related to the personnel files of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's top aides, by the end of September.

A spokesman for Clinton could not immediately be reached for comment last night.

In his ruling, Sullivan said "Judicial Watch's argument that a deposition is preferable in this case because of the ability to ask follow-up questions is not persuasive".

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