Judicial Watch has just released the deposition transcript of Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Ms. Cheryl Mills:
“I don’t know that I could articulate that there was a specific discussion as opposed to her continuation of the practice she had been using when she was a Senator. … I don’t have a specific memory of the conversations that may or may not have occurred. I know that I understood she was going to be using her personal email and that’s what she did.” [page 45]
“when she was a Senator“? A “Senator“. Oopsies.
Cheryl Mills (left) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right)
Cheryl Mills testimony covered Clinton’s use of emails; whether FOIA searches were done of Clinton emails, information about the set-up of the Clinton email server; Mills’ communication with Clinton email witness Bryan Pagliano; Mills’ involvement in prior Clinton email controversies; and the handling of politically sensitive FOIA responses. Mills’ attorneys directed her not to answer many questions.
During one part of the deposition Cheryl Mills admits that none of the Clinton email was able to be captured by FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, because the State Department did not have access. Excerpt:
ATTORNEY: Okay. So the Executive Secretariat’s office who manage the records, let’s say with the FOIA requests that implicated the Secretary’s e-mail, how did they go about searching for the Secretary’s e-mails in response to a FOIA request —
MILLS: So I don’t know —
ATTORNEY: — for her e-mail?
MILLS: I don’t know what their process was for how they went about that. Yeah. I don’t.
ATTORNEY: Okay. Did they have access to the Secretary’s e-mail account so they could search her e-mails in response to the FOIA request?
MILLLS: To my knowledge, they did not have access to her e-mail account. To my knowledge, the information where her e-mail was — if there was a topic that would have been related, would have been in the communications that she would have either had on paper, communications that she would have had in other materials that she received, or in exchanges that she had with e-mail with individuals on their State account.
ATTORNEY: And what about if the subject matter contained communications between the Secretary and others outside of the State Department?
MILLS: So I don’t know what would have been their process for how they would have captured that. And I think that’s one of the things that is a challenge and one of the things that I think as the Secretary has spoken about, it would have been smarter for her to have had or better for her to have had an account. And if she had it to do over again, she would…
…ATTORNEY: Okay. So did it ever occur to you when — from 2009 to 2013, before you left, that communications between the Secretary and, let’s say, you, to your personal e-mail account, that related to State business, that those actually weren’t available to the government or to the State Department to respond to FOIA requests?
MILLS: I wish it had. But no is the answer. In the sense of I was an overwhelming user of the State Department system. And so most of my communications with her and everybody else was on the State system. And I don’t think I reflected on were there occasions where there might still be something with respect to a personal e-mail where someone had either e-mailed me or I had responded back or the system had been down and we ultimately needed to use it, that there was information that hadn’t been captured. And I wish it had.
And remember that prior deposition by Lewis Lukens regarding the set-up for the non-secure office space across the hall? [NOTE *SCIF = Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility.]
MILLS: So the State Department had advised — their diplomatic security team had advised that she could not use and none of the staff could use a BlackBerry inside the SCIF. Whether or not it was State or not issued by State, you couldn’t use a BlackBerry inside the SCIF. And so in order to be able to check your BlackBerrys, you needed to leave the seventh floor area where all our offices were. And so if you walked outside in the hallway or if you went to the counsel’s office, in her instance that would be an area that was not inside a secure space, and you could check your BlackBerry, whether or not that was a State BlackBerry or — or not a State BlackBerry…
…Inside. Secretary Clinton’s office is 100 percent inside the SCIF.
ATTORNEY: Okay. So the discussions with respect to the office across the hall, that’s in a different office from — that’s outside the Secretary’s office. Correct?
MILLS: That’s outside the Secretary’s office.
MILLS: It’s also outside of the SCIF. So anyone can check their State or non-State BlackBerrys inside that office space.
ATTORNEY: Okay. Was the office set up across the hall for Secretary Clinton to use?
That 7th floor location being described, also where all of Clinton’s “please print” requests were carried out, is where the mysterious Thanksgiving “flash fire” took place.
MILLS: So I’m not familiar with a practice where she would print and save her e-mails. I obviously have seen a lot of e-mails where she would say, Please print. But I don’t know that she had a practice of printing and saving her e-mails.
A FOIA requests for information related to the Secretary came in to the front office, which in that instance would be the Executive Secretariat and the supporting staff. I can’t speak to what processes or protocols they went to. And I don’t want to understate them or overstate them. I don’t know.
Is this “fire issue” making more sense now?
Mills is among seven depositions of former Clinton top aides and State Department officials that Judicial Watch has scheduled over the next four weeks. The next witness is Stephen Mull, the former executive secretary under Clinton. Mull is scheduled to be deposed this Friday, June 3. Former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano is scheduled to testify on Monday, June 6. A State Department official designated by the agency (30(b)(6)) will testify on June 9. Huma Abedin is scheduled to testify on June 28 and top State Department official Patrick Kennedy on June 29 (link to judicial watch)