Federal judge orders Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice to answer Benghazi questions in Hillary Clinton email lawsuit

Federal judge orders Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice to answer Benghazi questions in Hillary Clinton email lawsuit

On Tuesday a Federal Judge ruled that former national security adviser Susan Rice and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes must answer written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

These questions are part of the ongoing legal battle over whether Hillary Clinton sought to deliberately deceive public record laws by using a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Conservative group Judicial Watch requested for Rice and Rhodes sit for depositions, but U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth denied the request instead agreeing to have them answer written questions.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth did agree to Judicial Watch’s request to depose the State Department about the preparation of talking points for Susan Rice, then President Barack Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, ahead of appearances on political talk shows the Sunday following the attack.

That deposition is part of Judicial Watch’s inquiry into whether the State Department acted in bad faith by not telling a court for months that they had asked in mid-2014 for missing emails to be returned.

On several talks shows, Susan Rice initially claimed that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was kicked-off by protests over an anti-Islam video. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

“Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case,” Lamberth wrote in a 16-page order.

Lamberth added that “State’s role in the [talking] points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from [Freedom of Information Act] requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.”

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth also ordered written answers from former assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap, who supervised the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“In a major victory for accountability, Judge Lamberth today authorized Judicial Watch to take discovery on whether the Clinton email system evaded FOIA and whether the Benghazi scandal was one reason for keeping Mrs. Clinton’s email secret,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Today, Judicial Watch issued document requests and other discovery to the State Department about the Clinton email scandal. Next up, we will begin questioning key witnesses under oath.”

Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s order amounts to approval of a discovery plan he ordered in December. In that ruling, Lamberth wrote that Hillary Clinton’s use of the private email account was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency” and said the response of the State and Justice Departments “smacks of outrageous misconduct.”

As part of this discovery, Conservative group Judicial Watch can now depose Jacob Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, as well as Justin Cooper, a longtime Bill Clinton aide who helped arrange the setup of Clinton’s private email address and server.

Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch said the discovery period will conclude within 120 days. A post-discovery hearing will then be held to determine whether additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, may be deposed.

Source: Fox News

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