Clinton doubles down on ‘convenience’ excuse for email server

Clinton doubles down on ‘convenience’ excuse for email server

Hillary Clinton’s attorneys are repeating an excuse for the former secretary of state’s private email use that was all but rejected by the FBI last week when it cleared Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.

In documents filed with a federal court Tuesday, Clinton’s legal team argued the presumptive Democratic nominee should not be forced to submit for a deposition because no evidence has emerged to suggest the personal email system she used was set up to “thwart” federal record-keeping policies.

“Secretary Clinton has repeatedly stated that the purpose of using the system was convenience,” lawyers wrote in a 25-page motion submitted in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The case, filed by conservative group Judicial Watch, seeks personnel files related to Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff and current campaign aide.

Clinton’s legal team said the former secretary of state believed at the time that her emails to State Department staff would be preserved on the official government system.

“Even if that understanding was mistaken, it does not amount to an intent to evade FOIA,” her attorneys wrote.

Contrary to the findings of State’s inspector general, which concluded in May that Clinton had operated her email network without the knowledge or consent of senior agency officials, Clinton’s lawyers argued the “” system was known widely in the upper echelons of the State Department.

“Notably, Secretary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account was transparent to State Department officials, including those responsible for records management,” her legal team wrote.

The attorneys cited Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary for management, as a top official who condoned Clinton’s email use by corresponding with her regularly at her private address.

However, Kennedy testified during his deposition that he did not “register” the significance of Clinton’s unauthorized communication practices despite overseeing the agency’s record-keeping policies during her tenure.

Faced with a recent court ruling that opened the door for the contents of private inboxes to become government property if used for official purposes, attorneys for Clinton said the ruling did not apply to the presumptive Democratic nominee because she is not a current agency head.

Her legal team also called questions over whether Clinton deleted work-related emails “irrelevant.”

Although Clinton has argued since March of last year that her server was set up for the “convenience” of carrying just one device for business and personal communications, FBI Director James Comey noted Clinton carried multiple mobile devices and set up several servers for her email network.

Comey said his agents found no evidence that directly contradicted Clinton’s claim of “convenience” as the reason behind her email arrangement.

However, Clinton’s refusal to cooperate with the inspector general in its investigation of that arrangement as well as her series of misstatements about the server have raised questions as to the true intentions underlying her decision to rely exclusively on private email.

A federal judge ruled in May that Judicial Watch may be permitted to question Clinton if initial depositions of six aides and one State Department witness failed to address key components of the server set-up.

One of those aides, Bryan Pagliano, refused to answer any questions, and others expressed an inability to recall even the most basic details about their time at the State Department.

Clinton’s campaign embraced the FBI’s decision to end its investigation of Clinton without recommending an indictment even though Comey criticized the former secretary of state for her “extremely careless” treatment of classified information.

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