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The Obama administration late Thursday moved to shield former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from being deposed by a conservative watchdog group in connection with its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit centered on her use of a private email server.
The Justice Department’s motion claims that Judicial Watch is “seeking instead to transform these proceedings into a wide-ranging inquiry into matters beyond the scope of the court’s order and unrelated to the FOIA request at issue in this case,” according to The Hill.
When originally filed, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit focused on the talking points the Obama administration used to explain the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
However, after it became known that Clinton used a private email server to conduct her official business, that also became the subject of Judicial Watch’s inquiries.
After Judicial Watch received the court’s blessing to move ahead, the group moved to depose Clinton, as well as five other current and former State Department officials about Clinton’s private server.
The Hill reported:
The case is the second in which Judicial Watch has been granted approval to depose witnesses to gather evidence about Clinton’s email setup. In the other case, interviews of current and former Clinton aides have already begun.
Clinton is not scheduled to answer questions as part of that case, through a federal judge has warned that she could be called upon in the future.
The Justice Department claimed in its motion that Judicial Watch’s request to interview Clinton was “overbroad and duplicative” as well as “wholly inappropriate.”
The government claims that Judicial Watch should first complete its depositions in the other case before deposing Clinton and the others in this case.
The Justice Department said that it would not object to Judicial Watch deposing former senior State Department official Jack Sullivan who is now a senior Clinton presidential campaign aide.
The government’s motion added that questioning of Sullivan should be limited only to the issue of State Department officials’ use of private email services.
The Justice Department claimed that it was filing its objections in order to “avoid the burden and expense” of deposing witnesses “that replicates activities already underway in another, overlapping case between the parties.”
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