Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin testified to using the former Secretary of State’s private email system for conducting government work during a deposition, according to transcripts released Wednesday by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
A string of other interesting details also emerged during the deposition, with Abedin saying under oath that Clinton was extremely particular about the private emails that she mixed with work-related emails not becoming accessible to “anybody,” as well as saying that she had no idea that Clinton had personally deleted scores of emails during the same period.
The deposition was part of a FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch that seeks to unravel the controversy surrounding Clinton’s use of her private email system, along with seeking records of the employment status of Huma Abedin and other staffers during Clinton’s time at the State Department.
Huma Abedin, who was Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department, also told the group of attorneys representing Judicial Watch that she, along with Secretary Clinton, had received secure email IDs for conducting official business once Clinton was sworn in, but admitted to sometimes using her private email system server, @clintonemail.com, to send and receive work-related emails, according to the Associated Press.
Moreover, Abedin told lawyers that she could not recall any discussions with State Department officials about Clinton’s use of her private email system, a statement consistent with State Department IG Steve Linick’s recent internal report that concluded that neither Hillary Clinton, nor any of her staffers at the State Department, had ever sought an approval to use @clintonemail.com for official business.
“I assumed it was OK to do,” she testified.
Abedin also shed some fresh light on the devices that Hillary Clinton used to access her emails. While Clinton’s use of her Blackberry has been well-documented, Abedin told investigators that Clinton also obtained an iPad that she would sometimes use to access her emails when the system on her Blackberry went down.
“When she was at State, I — she did — she did obtain an iPad, and that did — that did have her e-mail account. She could access her e-mail on that, on that iPad.
“It was not her practice to do so, but when her system on her BlackBerry went down, there was a period where I know she did use her e-mail on her iPad for maybe a week or two, if I remember correctly.”
Pleading innocence on her use of a private email system to conduct official business, Abedin told investigators that she “assumed it was okay” to use @clintonemail.com to send and receive emails when the state.gov server was not functioning properly. Although admitting that she had never approached anyone at the State Department to specifically know if it was permitted, Abedin said that she made it a practice to use the secure server on most — but not all — occasions.
“I don’t remember a specific conversation with somebody — with somebody telling — telling me that. And I assumed it was okay to do. I don’t — as I’ve stated earlier, my practice was to use State.gov for my work e-mail.
“Did I think I wasn’t allowed to use Clinton e-mail? No. I thought I — I thought that was permitted. But my — my practice was to use State.gov.”
Hillary Clinton’s private email system contained thousands of personal and work-related emails, effectively preventing the State Department from archiving her emails and making them available for public records requests. It was only a year after Clinton left office — in 2014 — that the State Department learned that she held all of her emails and requested that she turn over all work-related records.
Although Clinton handed over 33,000 work-related emails to the State Department, she reportedly deleted almost as many “personal” emails from her server, raising doubts about the content of those emails. Although Huma Abedin’s deposition appears to shed a new light on the proceedings, it still keeps Hillary Clinton insulated, and it would be interesting to see if the Democratic presumptive nominee is called up for deposition anytime soon.
For a full transcript of the deposition, you can click here.
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