A federal judge gave Hillary Clinton some very bad news on Wednesday when he ruled that the State Department must produce the security training records of both the former Secretary of State and her top aide Huma Abedin within two weeks.
The Daily Caller reported that if the State Department does not comply, it will face direct deposition of multiple government officials.
“I’m sure you can appreciate Mr. Lee, there is a certain time sensitivity on this issue,” U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon told Department of Justice Attorney Jason Lee, who is representing the State Department. “We’re looking down the barrel of a presidential election from now in two months.”
Leon added that the Daily Caller News Foundation is “trying to get to the bottom of this, to what extent Secretary Clinton and probably her immediate staff received training. They’re trying to figure out was the training in writing or orally, (and) how was it done.”
“Let me put it to you this way: You need to discuss with your client whether it would be better to give them the answers to these questions or to have depositions to depose those at the State Department,” Leon said.
This came after the DCNF filed the lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act last November when the State Department refused to turn over all records of the security training for Clinton and her top aides.
In a July 29 State Department filing before Leon, lawyers for State and Justice departments claimed they could not locate any security briefing documents for Clinton or Abedin. They added that the absence of the documents meant that the “courses were not completed” by the secretary or her aides. It is not clear at this time whether Clinton explicitly refused to attend the security briefings.
Lee tried to deflect further release of records by suggesting that the DCNF file a new FOIA and forward the request directly to the secretary’s office, instead of doing so before the two department units that conduct training courses and briefings. Leon, however, wasn’t having any of it.
“If they file a new FOIA request, they’ll probably go to the end of a very long line which is not particularly fair way to resolve this problem,” the judge said.
Leon went on to say that if this issue is not solved by September 15, he will he will order depositions by the DCNF of State Department officials.
“At the moment, there’s a very real prospect that your client and staff will have to sit through depositions to get answers to these questions. It would seem to me to be a lot simpler if you just give them the basic information they need here and we don’t go through all this,” Leon warned.
“Judge Leon made it clear that State can provide the simple clarifications we’ve sought one of two ways: either now, in a cooperative manner, or in a few weeks in sworn depositions,” said DCNF attorney Bradley Moss. “The choice is theirs to make.”
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