“Judicial Watch announced today that it and the State Department, which is represented by Justice Department lawyers, filed responses opposing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills’ Writ of Mandamus request to overturn a U.S. District Court order requiring their testimony under oath regarding Clinton’s emails and Benghazi attack records. At the same time, the government argued that it did not engage in “bad faith” in failing to disclose the Clinton non-government email system to Judicial Watch and the court. The briefs were filed on April 3 with the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The filings come in the appeals court’s proceedings concerning Judicial Watch’s lawsuit that seeks records concerning “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State
Judicial Watch argues that Clinton and Mills “must demonstrate that they have no other adequate means of relief,” which they failed to show. Also, Clinton and Mills do not demonstrate “that the District Court’s order was a judicial usurpation of power or a clear abuse of discretion, or that [Clinton and Mills] have a clear and indisputable right to a writ.” In fact, “the District Court reasonably concluded that Clinton’s previous explanations for using a personal email server are cursory, incomplete, and seemingly at odds with what discovery has yielded to date.”
Judicial Watch further argues that Clinton and Mills are trying to avoid their deposition testimony by relying on, “their status as former high-level government officials.” Clinton and Mills, “do not offer a single case from this Court or any other, holding that former high-level government officials should not be required to follow regular appellate channels to challenge a discovery order.” Particularly in Mills’ case, Judicial Watch notes that they, “identify no case in which a court entertained a mandamus petition to stop the deposition of even a sitting cabinet member’s chief of staff.” [Emphasis in original]
Judicial Watch also argues against Clinton’s argument that she held the server under “claim of right,” when it contained thousands of federal records. Judicial Watch states that unlike other Secretaries of State, like Henry Kissinger, Clinton did not obtain an opinion from State’s Legal Adviser on whether she could take the federal records prior to her departure from State. Clinton’s “claim of right” argument over her server would be like a bank robbery:
A bank robber who stuffs bills into a duffle bag during a robbery may own the bag, but has no “claim of right” to the stolen cash. Is Clinton claiming a legal right to the agency records stored on the server? If so, Petitioners offer no factual or legal support for such a claim. While the server may have been Clinton’s property, the agency records on the server plainly were not.
Though they repeatedly sought to shut down any further inquiry in the lower court proceedings, the State and Justice Departments also argue against Clinton and Mills’ appeal to overturn the order for their depositions:
The government did not seek and thus does not support the extraordinary relief of mandamus due to the unique circumstances of this case.