Despite a seemingly endless series of interviews, congressional hearings, and even an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Hillary Clinton still hasn't given adequate answers to many of the questions surrounding her email scandal.
But now the Democratic presidential nominee has no choice…
Last month a federal judge ruled that Hillary Clinton must provide written responses – under oath – to 25 questions from conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch regarding her private email server and use of a personal BlackBerry device during her tenure as secretary of state.
"Secretary Clinton has never testified under oath why she created and used the clintonemail.com system to conduct official government business. Her only public statements on the issue are unsworn," Judicial Watch said in court filings.
The 25 questions are part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in 2013 by Judicial Watch and reopened last March. That suit sought to obtain all records of the contracts between Clinton aide Huma Abedin and the State Department.
Those records became entwined in the larger Clinton email scandal. Judicial Watch argued only Hillary Clinton could provide the answers to certain specific questions, and U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan agreed.
The judge gave Clinton 30 days to respond after Judicial Watch submitted the questions, which the group did on Aug. 30, 2016. That means Clinton must respond by the end of September — just a little over four weeks before Election Day.
"Judicial Watch will get Clinton under oath regarding the setup of her outlaw server – something no other person, organization, or agency has been able to do, to date," Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch's Director of Investigations, told FOX News.
Here's the full list of 25 questions Judicial Watch has posed to Hillary Clinton…
25 Questions About the Email Scandal Hillary Clinton Needs to Answer
- Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
- Describe the creation of your clintonemail.com email account, including who decided to create it, when it was created, why it was created, and, if you did not set up the account yourself, who set it up for you.
- When did you decide to use a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business and whom did you consult in making this decision?
- Identify all communications in which you participated concerning or relating to your decision to use a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business and, for each communication, identify the time, date, place, manner (e.g., in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic or other means), persons present or participating, and content of the communication.
- In a "60 Minutes" interview aired on July 24, 2016, you stated that it was "recommended" you use a personal email account to conduct official State Department business. What recommendations were you given about using or not using a personal email account to conduct official State Department business, who made any such recommendations, and when were any such recommendations made?
- Were you ever advised, cautioned, or warned, was it ever suggested, or did you ever participate in any communication, conversation, or meeting in which it was discussed that your use of a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business conflicted with or violated federal recordkeeping laws. For each instance in which you were so advised, cautioned or warned, in which such a suggestion was made, or in which such a discussion took place, identify the time, date, place, manner (e.g., in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic or other means), persons present or participating, and content of the advice, caution, warning, suggestion, or discussion.
- Your campaign website states, "When Clinton got to the Department, she opted to use her personal email account as a matter of convenience." What factors other than convenience did you consider in deciding to use a personal email account to conduct official State Department business? Include in your answer whether you considered federal records management and preservation requirements and how email you used to conduct official State Department business would be searched in response to FOIA requests.
- After President Obama nominated you to be Secretary of State and during your tenure as secretary, did you expect the State Department to receive FOIA requests for or concerning your email?
- During your tenure as Secretary of State, did you understand that email you sent or received in the course of conducting official State Department business was subject to FOIA?
- During your tenure as Secretary of State, how did you manage and preserve emails in your clintonemail.com email account sent or received in the course of conducting official State Department business, and what, if anything, did you do to make those emails available to the Department for conducting searches in response to FOIA requests?
- During your tenure as Secretary of State, what, if any, effort did you make to inform the State Department's records management personnel (e.g., Clarence Finney or the Executive Secretariat's Office of Correspondence and Records) about your use of a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business?
- During your tenure as Secretary of State, did State Department personnel ever request access to your clintonemail.com email account to search for email responsive to a FOIA request? If so, identify the date access to your account was requested, the person or persons requesting access, and whether access was granted or denied.
- At the time you decided to use your clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business, or at any time thereafter during your tenure as Secretary of State, did you consider how emails you sent to or received from persons who did not have State Department email accounts (i.e., "state.gov" accounts) would be maintained and preserved by the Department or searched by the Department in response to FOIA requests? If so, what was your understanding about how such emails would be maintained, preserved, or searched by the Department in response to FOIA requests?
- On March 6, 2009, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell wrote in an Information Memo to your Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, that he "cannot stress too strongly, however, that any unclassified BlackBerry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving email, and exploiting calendars." A March 11, 2009, email states that, in a management meeting with the assistant secretaries, you approached Assistant Secretary Boswell and mentioned that you had read the "IM" and that you "get it." Did you review the March 6, 2009, Information Memo, and, if so, why did you continue using an unclassified BlackBerry to access your clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business?
- In a November 13, 2010, email exchange with Huma Abedin about problems with your clintonemail.com email account, you wrote to Ms. Abedin, in response to her suggestion that you use a State Department email account or release your email address to the Department, "Let's get a separate address or device." Why did you continue using your clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business after agreeing on November 13, 2010, to "get a separate address or device?" Include in your answer whether by "address" you meant an official State Department email account (i.e., a "state.gov" account) and by "device" you meant a State Department-issued BlackBerry.
- Email exchanges among your top aides and assistants in August 30, 2011, discuss providing you with a State Department-issued BlackBerry or State Department email address. In the course of these discussions, State Department Executive Secretary Stephen Mull wrote, "[W]e are working to provide the Secretary per her request a Department issued BlackBerry to replace her personal unit which is malfunctioning (possibly because of her personal email server is down). We will prepare two versions for her to use – one with an operating State Department email account (which would mask her identity, but which would also be subject to FOIA requests)." Similarly, John Bentel, the Director of Information and Records Management in the Executive Secretariat, wrote, "You should be aware that any email would go through the Department's infrastructure and [be] subject to FOIA searches." Did you request a State Department issued Blackberry or a State Department email account in or around August 2011, and, if so, why did you continue using your personal device and clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business instead of replacing your device and account with a State Department-issued BlackBerry or a State Department email account? Include in your answer whether the fact that a State Department-issued BlackBerry or a State Department email address would be subject to FOIA affected your decision.
- In February 2011, Assistant Secretary Boswell sent you an Information Memo noting "a dramatic increase since January 2011 in attempts . . . to compromise the private home email accounts of senior Department officials." Assistant Secretary Boswell "urge[d] Department users to minimize the use of personal web-email for business." Did you review Assistant Secretary Boswell's Information Memo in or after February 2011, and, if so, why did you continue using your clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business? Include in your answer any steps you took to minimize use of your clintonemail.com email account after reviewing the memo.
- On June 28, 2011, you sent a message to all State Department personnel about securing personal email accounts. In the message, you noted "recent targeting of personal email accounts by online adversaries" and directed all personnel to "[a]void conducting official Department business from your personal email accounts." Why did you continue using your clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business after June 28, 2011, when you were advising all State Department Personnel to avoid doing so?
- Were you ever advised, cautioned, or warned about hacking or attempted hacking of your clintonemail.com email account or the server that hosted your clintonemail.com account and, if so, what did you do in response to the advice, caution, or warning?
- When you were preparing to leave office, did you consider allowing the State Department access to your clintonemail.com email account to manage and preserve the official emails in your account and to search those emails in response to FOIA requests? If you considered allowing access to your email account, why did you decide against it? If you did not consider allowing access to your email account, why not?
- After you left office, did you believe you could alter, destroy, disclose, or use email you sent or received concerning official State Department business as you saw fit? If not, why not?
- In late 2014, the State Department asked that you make available to the Department copies of any federal records of which you were aware, "such as an email sent or received on a personal email account while serving as Secretary of State." After you left office but before your attorneys reviewed the email in your clintonemail.com email account in response to the State Department's request, did you alter, destroy, disclose, or use any of the email in the account or authorize or instruct that any email in the account be altered, destroyed, disclosed, or used? If so, describe any email that was altered, destroyed, disclosed, or used, when the alteration, destruction, disclosure, or use took place, and the circumstances under which the email was altered, destroyed, disclosed, or used.
- After your lawyers completed their review of the emails in your clintonemail.com email account in late 2014, were the electronic versions of your emails preserved, deleted, or destroyed? If they were deleted or destroyed, what tool or software was used to delete or destroy them, who deleted or destroyed them, and was the deletion or destruction done at your direction?
- During your October 22, 2015, appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails "were in the State's system" and "if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so." Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.
- Identify all communications between you and Brian Pagliano concerning or relating to the management, preservation, deletion, or destruction of any emails in your clintonemail.com email account, including any instruction or direction to Mr. Pagliano about the management, preservation, deletion, or destruction of emails in your account when transferring the clintonemail.com email system to any alternate or replacement server. For each communication, identify the time, date, place, manner (e.g., in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic or other means), persons present or participating, and content of the communication.
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- Fox News: Judge Orders Clinton to Provide Written Answers to Questions on Private Email Use
- Judicial Watch Weekly Update: 25 Questions for Hillary Clinton
About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.