A lower court order requiring Hillary Clinton to provide a sworn deposition questioning her use of a private email account and server while she was Secretary of State, has been unanimously overturned by a feral appeals court panel. The ruling was 3-0 in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, deciding that Judicial Watch was not entitled to depose Clinton. The eight-year-old Freedom of Information Act lawsuit is seeking details and records of interviews with national security adviser Susan Rice about the deadly attack on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 that killed four Americans.
Clinton, under penalty of perjury, answered written questions in a litigation about the emails. U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth called her answers “incomplete, unhelpful, or cursory, at best”. On Friday, the appeals court ruled that Lamberth’s order was a “clear abuse of discretion”.
D.C. Circuit Judge Robert Wilkins said, “Secretary Clinton Ö provided eleven hours of public testimony before the House Select Committee, and has answered countless media inquiries on the matter. These facts underscore both the impropriety of the District Courtís Order and the appropriateness of turning the page on the issue.”
He also said that the topics for Clinton’s deposition are “completely attenuated from any relevant issue in this case”.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, says they are considering their options and disappointed in the ruling.
Clinton claims she kept using the private account and server for convenience when she took over as Secretary of State in 2009 and that she wasn’t trying to avoid the Freedom of Information Act of other disclosure requirements.
After an investigation and interviews from the FBI, they said they did find dozens of messages containing highly classified information, but recommended against criminal charges. Lamberth countered that assertion saying the State Department had not adequately put these questions to rest. He said, “To argue that the Court now has enough information to determine whether State conducted an adequate search is preposterous”.
Trump and others have urged a further investigation to find tens of thousands of other messages that Clinton aides determined were personal and she ordered they be destroyed. She turned over only 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department.
Lamberth said, “Even years after the FBI investigation, the slow trickle of new emails has yet to be explained” because new messages continue to emerge from the FBI.
Government lawyers have opposed the request of Clinton’s lawyers to have the appeals court block the testimony aft the Justice Department ruled against the Judicial Watch to depose Clinton.