Cheryl Mills

April 23, 2019 – FBI official, Bill Priestap, admits Hillary Clinton’s emails were found in Obama White House

Bill Priestap (Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

Judicial Watch announced today that a senior FBI official admitted, in writing and under oath, that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President. The FBI also admitted nearly 49,000 Clinton server emails were reviewed as result of a search warrant for her material on the laptop of Anthony Weiner.

E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, made the disclosure to Judicial Watch as part of court-ordered discovery into the Clinton email issue.

Priestap was asked by Judicial Watch to identify representatives of Hillary Clinton, her former staff, and government agencies from which “email repositories were obtained.” Priestap responded with the following non-exhaustive list:

  • Bryan Pagliano
  • Cheryl Mills
  • Executive Office of the President [Emphasis added]
  • Heather Samuelson
  • Jacob Sullivan
  • Justin Cooper
  • United States Department of State
  • United States Secret Service
  • Williams & Connolly LLP

Priestap also testifies that 48,982 emails were reviewed as a result of a warrant for Clinton email account information from the laptop of Anthony Weiner, who had been married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

A complete copy of Priestap’s interrogatory responses is available here. Priestap, is serving as assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and helped oversee both the Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.

“This astonishing confirmation, made under oath by the FBI, shows that the Obama FBI had to go to President Obama’s White House office to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “No wonder Hillary Clinton has thus far skated – Barack Obama is implicated in her email scheme.”

Priestap was ordered to answer the written questions by United States District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth when he ruled in January that Judicial Watch’s discovery could begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. This action came in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit for:

Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 4/23/2019)

January 15, 2019 – Federal Court orders discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi scandal

Judge Royce Lamberth (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/Legal Times)

“Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:

Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.

Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

Eric Boswell (Credit: public domain)

According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:

  1. Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
  2. Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
  3. Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 1/15/2019)

October 12, 2018 – Federal judge Royce Lamberth is ‘shocked’ Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was granted immunity by the Justice Department

Judge Royce C. Lamberth (Credit: Charles Dharapak/The Associated Press)

“Judicial Watch announced today that in his opening remarks at a Friday, October 12 hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth strongly criticized the U.S. Department of State, stating, “The information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the [Clinton email] search and… what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.”

Turning his attention to the Department of Justice, Judge Lamberth said that he was “dumbfounded” by the agency’s Inspector General report revealing that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity and was allowed to accompany former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her FBI interview:

I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case. So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview.

(In an April 28, 2008 ruling relating to Mills’ conduct as a White House official in responding to concerns about lost White House email records, Judge Lamberth called Mills’ participation in the matter “loathsome.” He further stated Mills was responsible for “the most critical error made in this entire fiasco … Mills’ actions were totally inadequate to address the problem.”)

Lamberth also complained that the Justice Department attorney representing the State Department was using “doublespeak,” and playing “word games.”

The hearing had been ordered by Judge Lamberth regarding a request from Judicial Watch for testimony under oath from Clinton, Mills and several other State Department officials regarding the State Department’s processing of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request and Clinton’s emails. The State Department still opposes all of Judicial Watch’s requests for additional discovery into the Clinton email scandal.

Judge Lamberth said he was relieved that he did not allow the case to be shut down prematurely, as the State Department had requested.

The case started with a motion for summary judgment [seeking to close the case] here and which I denied and allowed limited discovery because it was clear to me that at the time that I ruled initially, that false statements were made to me by career State Department officials and it became more clear through discovery that the information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the search and this – what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.

I don’t know the details of what kind of IG inquiry there was into why these career officials at the State Department would have filed false affidavits with me. I don’t know the details of why the Justice Department lawyers did not know false affidavits were being filed with me, but I was very relieved that I did not accept them and that I allowed limited discovery into what had happened.

Judge Lamberth also said the State Department was using “doublespeak” and word games. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/12/2018)

September 20, 2018 – Opinion: Clinton’s “Researchers” lose their top secret security clearance

(…) “Jeff Carlson has assembled a strong and in-depth outline covering most of the weaponized intelligence agencies and how they related to “spygate” – SEE HERE

However, there has also been a strong suspicion that most of the corrupt origination activity would never surface.

The downstream ramifications to the institutions of our IC apparatus would be too destructive. What follows below is the story that will never reach sunlight officially.

When reading the Department of State (DoS) letter today, I cannot avoid reviewing the information against the backdrop of known DoS corrupt political activity that extends beyond the Clinton emails scandal.   For this explanation, here’s the excerpt that matters:

Forget Clinton’s motives for a moment. We all know her “request” was a proactive measure due to the likelihood her clearance was going to be forcibly revoked.  Requesting the removal avoids multiple political and logistical issues of her security file being damaged by a forced revocation.  The request is transparent in motive; so lets get beyond the surface issue.

The “researchers” who Secretary Clinton designated is the topic of interest; and the redacted identifications therein are telling.  The Executive Order referenced is HERE.  The subsection [Sec. 4.4 (a)(2)] involves:

Sec. 4.4. Access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel.

(a) The requirement in section 4.1(a)(3) of this order that access to classified information may be granted only to individuals who have a need-to-know the information may be waived for persons who:

(1) are engaged in historical research projects;
(2) previously have occupied senior policy-making positions to which they were appointed or designated by the President or the Vice President; or
(3) served as President or Vice President.

(link)

Cheryl Mills (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Essentially what this tells us is that Secretary Hillary Clinton used her authority to waive the ‘need to know‘ limit on the people she listed.  In essence, she gave unlimited access to her “researchers” for an unspecified reason.

When I see the wording, immediately I think of two distinct reasons for Clinton to grant her researchers with top-level security access to classified information: (1) to participate in searches of FISA databases (ie. ‘queries’); and (2) to make unmasking requests for any results within those search query results.

Keeping in mind these appear to be State Department access / authorized researchers.  The DoS is one of the intelligence authorized access portals. (FBI, DOJ-NSD, NSA, CIA, DoD are others.) In short, Clinton ‘researchers’ would have access to compartmented intelligence gathering systems, ie. FISA intelligence systems.

Now, remember all of the ‘unmasking requests’ attributed to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers?   Hundreds of them.  Ambassador Samantha Powers is a top-level official, for Obama a cabinet level official, within the Department of State.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/12/2018)

August 30, 2018 – The State Department revokes Hillary Clinton’s security clearance at her request

Hillary Clinton (Credit: The Associated Press)

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance has been revoked at her request, the State Department told lawmakers, according to a letter made public Friday.

Clinton’s clearance was withdrawn on Aug. 30, according to a letter from the State Department to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which he released.

Five others associated with Clinton, including longtime aide Cheryl Mills, also had their clearances revoked on Sept. 20, according to the letter. The aides were known as “research assistants,” which allowed them to keep their clearances after their time at the department concluded.

The move comes almost a year after Grassley asked the department to investigate and review whether Clinton’s aides still had security clearance.” (Read more: Politico, 10/12/2018)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page discusses the DOJ influence over the FBI’s Clinton email investigation

(Credit: State of the Nation)

(…) “Page also repeatedly noted a tension between the FBI and DOJ, noting that the DOJ was far more cautious in their approach to matters and was ultimately responsible for the decision not to prosecute in the Clinton case.

Another aspect that developed in the dynamic between the DOJ and the FBI was pressure from the department to place additional people into the FBI’s investigation. Page noted that “as soon as the planning started to begin to interview some of the more high-profile witness, not just Mrs. Clinton but also Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and her sort of core team, the department wanted to change the sort of structure and the number of people who were involved.”

In particular, David Laufman, a deputy assistant attorney general and head of counterintelligence for the DOJ’s National Security Division at the time, pushed extensively to be present for the higher profile interviews. As Page noted, this quickly spiraled into a problem for the FBI:

“Once we started talking about including David, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office also wanted to participate in the interviews, although they had participated in virtually none by that point. And so, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office was pushing to have the AUSAs [Assistant U.S. Attorney], who were participating in the Clinton investigation, also participate.”

“And so now, all of a sudden, we were going from our standard two and two to this burgeoning number of people.”

Apparently, Laufman felt so strongly that he went to his boss, George Toscas, the deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division, who then approached McCabe directly.

The DOJ’s ongoing influence was felt in other ways as well. Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, both fact witnesses, were allowed to attend Clinton’s interview as her attorneys. As Page admitted, “I would agree with you, that it is not typically appropriate or operationally necessary to have fact witnesses attend the interview.”

The decision to allow attendance of fact witnesses during Clinton’s interview came from the DOJ, although Page said she wasn’t certain who had made the decision. She noted that the FBI protested the move but were overridden, so the decision must have come from a senior level within the DOJ.” (The Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)

June 13, 2018 – Court sets hearing on motion to compel email testimony from Hillary Clinton

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/National Law Journal)

“Judicial Watch announced a federal court ordered a hearing for Thursday, October 11, 2018, on a motion to compel testimony about the email practices of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The order was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

(…) “In 2016, Hillary Clinton was required to submit, under oath, written answers to Judicial Watch’s questions. Clinton objected to and refused to answer questions about the creation of her email system; her decision to use the system despite warnings from State Department cybersecurity officials; and the basis for her claim that the State Department had “90-95%” of her emails. Judge Sullivan is considering Judicial Watch’s motion to compel answers to these questions.

In her responses sent to Judicial Watch and the court on October 13, 2016, Clinton refused to answer three questions and responded that she “does not recall” 20 times concerning her non-government clintonemail.com email system. She preceded her responses by eight “general objections” and two “objections to definitions.” The words “object” or “objection” appear 84 times throughout the 23-page document submitted to the court and Judicial Watch.

Judge Sullivan will also hear arguments on Judicial Watch’s motion to compel testimony from former State Department Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat John Bentel (who asserted his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer 87 questions at his deposition) and Judicial Watch’s motion to unseal the audiovisual recordings of all depositions. Judicial Watch took the testimony of key Clinton aides and State Department senior officials, including Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, but the videotapes of the depositions are currently under seal.”  (Judicial Watch, 6/13/2018)

May 23, 2018 – It was a favor factory: State Dept. turns over thousands of Clinton-era State Department emails to/about the Clinton Foundation

American Center for Law & Justice Logo (Credit: public domain)

“We have just uncovered a stunning revelation about the extent to which the Clinton State Department colluded with the Clinton Foundation. Despite what Hillary Clinton told the American people, there was no firewall.”

(…) “These documents, only now being uncovered through our FOIA request and subsequent litigation, show extensive communications exchanged between Clinton or her senior staff at State Department and Doug Band – a senior aid at the Clinton Foundation and creator of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

In recent court filings, the State Department has revealed that more than 8,700 documents exist in Cheryl Mills’ and/or Huma Abedin’s files which contain the single search term, “Doug Band.” It is possible, and indeed likely, that each document consists of several pages placing the number closer to 18,000 pages or more.

The ACLJ has also learned through our litigation that another 22,000 documents exist in Cheryl Mills’ and Huma Abedin’s files (not including attachments) mentioning or referring to the Clinton Foundation or a related term referencing the foundation.

This information alone serves as overwhelming evidence of the corruption that occurred within the State Department during the time Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. The documents also confirm that Secretary Clinton intentionally lied to the American people and misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her confirmation hearings for Secretary of State. On several occasions, Secretary Clinton assured the Senate that she would maintain a complete separation between her two worlds – the foundation and any donors hoping to obtain favors and her operation of the State Department. In fact, she informed the Senate that as early as January 2009, steps had already been taken to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Absolutely no such steps appear to have ever been taken.

Indeed, in just the most recent 89 pages of documents produced by State which mention Doug Band, it is clear that Band served as a liaison for Clinton donors looking for favors and official acts from the Clinton-run State Department.

From requests for Secretary Clinton’s appearance at social events and fundraisers to requests for special consideration for government positions (Brock Johnson) and at least 5 ambassadorships (a diplomatic official of the highest rank), Doug Band was the guy to contact; and he had a direct line to Secretary Clinton and her senior staff. If a foundation donor needed help with a visa application in light of a prior criminal conviction or experienced complications with international travel, they contacted Doug Band and, within minutes of receiving their request, Doug Band would forward the request/favor to Huma Abedin or Cheryl Mills.

In fact, when other government employees or officials couldn’t get a hold of Secretary Clinton or her staff, they emailed Doug Band for a response.”

(…) “Brock Johnson later tipped off Cheryl Mills about a “Significant FOIA” request in 2012 that requested information about “the number of email accounts of, or associated with, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.” The Inspector General found that the State Department then falsely stated that there were “no records responsive to your request,” when in fact numerous officials knew about Secretary Clinton’s private email address. To be clear, Johnson tipped off Cheryl Mills about the FOIA request that would have first publicly uncovered Secretary Clinton’s email scandal; instead the State Department covered it up for months longer. And Johnson obtained his job as a “favor” to the Clinton Foundation.” (Read more: American Center for Law and Justice, 5/23/2018)

The FBI allegedly has not destroyed the laptops of two Clinton aides, and their immunity deals may have been voided.

In October 2016, it was reported that Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson got immunity deals in return for their cooperation in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, and in return for turning over their computer laptops, the FBI promised to destroy those laptops after analyzing the data on them.

However, on this day, Fox News reporter Bret Baier claims, “As a result of the limited immunity deals to top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Justice Department had tentatively agreed that the FBI would destroy those laptops after a narrow review. We are told definitively that has not happened. Those devices are currently in the FBI field office here in Washington, DC, and are being exploited. The source points out that any immunity deal is null and void if any subject lied at any point in the investigation.” (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)

The FBI never asked Clinton’s aides for all their computers and mobile devices.

Politico reports that the FBI never asked Clinton’s top aides for their computers and mobile devices as part of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. An unnamed source familiar with the investigation says, “No one was asked for devices by the FBI.”

Because the investigation didn’t have subpoena power, it could only ask for people to cooperate, or make immunity deals with them. The FBI did make an effort to get Clinton’s computers and mobile devices, and made immunity deals with Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to get their computer laptops, but FBI requests didn’t go much beyond that.

Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Bill O'Leary / Getty Images)

Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Bill O’Leary / Getty Images)

Bob Goodlatte (R), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says, “The more we learn about the FBI’s initial investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server, the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information.”

Politico suggests that the FBI might not have asked for what Clinton’s aides possessed because of a focus on Clinton and her server and mobile devices. “It’s also possible the FBI or prosecutors elected not to demand all the Clinton aides’ computers and other electronics because doing so might have triggered a legal battle that could have slowed the probe.”

The issue about what Clinton’s aides may have possessed came to the fore after the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation after emails belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin were discovered on a computer owned by her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. In an April 2016 FBI interview and then in a public deposition in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2016, Abedin said she gave her lawyers all devices she thought might contain State Department-related emails. However, it appears no government entity ever asked for any of her devices, so her lawyers never gave them up to anyone.

Abedin was asked for all her work-related emails from her time in the State Department in another FOIA lawsuit, but not the computers or devices the emails were stored on.

The same appears to be true for other top Clinton aides like Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Bryan Pagliano, and others, with the few exceptions noted above.(Politico, 11/1/2016)