The longest-on-record government shutdown may have had some unexpected consequences, as investigators were forced to delay the inquiry into whether Westchester resident Hillary Clinton attempted to evade public record laws with her use of a private email account.
Earlier this month, a District Court judge agreed to Judicial Watch’s request to depose several individuals regarding the State Department’s response to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya. The watchdog group is attempting to determine whether the former Secretary of State sought to evade the Freedom of Information Act by utilizing her private server.
This week, those depositions were put on hold, as a federal judge ruled that all deadlines be extended for as long as the standoff between the Democrats and Republicans continues over immigration reform.
According to Politico, subpoenas for depositions were sent to former Clinton deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, Clinton attorney and adviser Heather Samuelsohn, former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, and a former close adviser to President Bill Clinton, Justin Cooper.
“To respond to Plaintiff’s interrogatories and document requests (including one that will require searches of State’s email records for 24 officials or former officials) will require not only members of the Department of Justice’s litigation team, all of whom are currently furloughed, but also State attorneys and employees from various bureaus and components who are likewise furloughed,” the lawyers wrote.
“The Government will require an even broader array of State employees—most of whom are currently furloughed—to prepare for the numerous depositions described in the Discovery Order.”
The Politico report states that the Justice Department is unable to assist with the case due to the shutdown, but State Department officials are able to ascertain records for the time being.
The Justice Department said, “during the time the Department of State has funds available to cover its direct-hire employees, State Department personnel will, to the extent possible without the advice and direction of Justice Department attorneys, take steps to make what progress they can in preparing responses to the discovery requests that Plaintiff has already served.”
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