Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has long been digging to get to the bottom of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal, and they just received an under oath deposition from one of her top aides at the State Department.
Former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser Jake Sullivan admitted during the sworn deposition that both he and Clinton, among others in the State Department at the time, used personal email accounts to handle official government business.
Clinton aide deposed in Judicial Watch suit
Sullivan’s testimony stemmed from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and lawsuit initially filed in 2014 against the State Department that specifically sought any and all communications and documents related to the infamous “talking points” prepared for then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice regarding the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack and her subsequent appearances on numerous Sunday morning news shows, Fitton reported.
However, the deposition of Sullivan centered more on Clinton’s unauthorized private email server and specifically whether it was used deliberately to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, and whether the State Department did an adequate job in searching for Clinton’s emails in response to FOIA requests.
For the sake of convenience
According to the 86-page transcript of the deposition, after reviewing multiple email chains involving Sullivan that discussed the Benghazi talking points issue, the questioning shifted toward the use of private email accounts to handle official business.
Sullivan’s testimony revealed that he had no recollection of ever receiving any guidance or training with regard to FOIA or records management procedures, and it further showed that he and others — including Clinton — had, in fact, used private email for official business on various occasions.
He clarified that he predominately used his official State Department email to conduct most official business, but nevertheless acknowledged using his private Gmail account while traveling with Clinton or on nights and weekends for the sake of convenience, a practice he acknowledged was standard across the department.
With regard to his personal knowledge of Clinton’s use of a private email account, Sullivan said: “I didn’t think much about it. The — her email practices weren’t a part of my job responsibility, and I had come to State having worked for Secretary Clinton before she was at the State Department and when she was in the Senate, and she had a personal email account at the Senate as well as other members of Congress did. So when she switched over and kept using a personal email account, it didn’t really occur to me that there was anything unusual about it.”
Later in the deposition, considering all of the trouble Clinton’s email arrangement brought upon everyone, Sullivan was asked if he regretted not speaking out against Clinton’s use of private email to conduct official business.
“Sure. I regret a lot of things about the 2016 election,” Sullivan said. “I regret that this email issue blew up. Like Secretary Clinton has said herself, I wish she had used a State Department account. It wasn’t really part of my job to be thinking about Secretary Clinton’s emails so I don’t think I sort of fell down directly in my job, but do I wish I had thought of it during the time we were at State? Of course. I mean, what human being at this point wouldn’t have thought of that?”
Sullivan’s testimony made it clear that Clinton’s unauthorized email practices were known both inside and outside of the State Department, and those practices were employed by others in spite of official policies to the contrary.
Given that Sullivan is but one of many witnesses that Judicial Watch intends to depose in connection to the Clinton email scandal, it will be interesting to see how his testimony aligns with that of others who will soon face questioning.