Judicial Watch has released the deposition transcript of Cheryl D. Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff throughout her four years as secretary of state.
Though instructed by her attorney not to answer many questions, the transcript is available here. Mills was deposed last week as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecured, non-government email system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). Last week, Judge Sullivan ordered that all deposition transcripts be made publicly available while, for now, sealing video/audio recordings of the depositions.
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 to the secretary’s office.
Though Mills’ attorneys directed her not to answer many questions, Judicial Watch attorney Ramona Cotca did an excellent job of questioning Mills despite repeated objections and evasive responses from the witness. Mills had three personal attorneys with her, and four attorneys from the Justice and State Departments were also present. Mills’ attorney instructed her client not to answer 15 separate lines of questioning posed by Judicial Watch’s lawyers. In fact, the 162-page transcript contains 283 instances of the words “object” and “objection,” 38 instances of “I don’t recall” and 183 instances of “I don’t know.” Ms. Mills’ testimony was met with widespread skepticism. As Kim Strassel pointed out in The Wall Street Journal:
Ms. Mills can barely recall any conversation with anyone while at the State Department about a server, or email, or anything. She is clueless or mum on why the server came to be or who knew about it, or how it worked.
Notably, the Mills team spends much of the interview suggesting she had no real knowledge of the system while on the federal payroll. Why does the timing matter? Because Ms. Mills began working as a private lawyer for Mrs. Clinton after they left government. Anything she learned at that point is therefore protected by attorney-client privilege. Which is convenient.
In fact, I just came back from today’s deposition by our legal team of Amb. Stephen Mull, a former executive administrative official under Clinton. Mull’s testimony transcript should be released on Monday. Despite his being the responsible supervising official in Clinton’s office for document retention and FOIA responses, Amb. Mull claims not to have known anything about her email system. Even today, he refused to cast “judgment” (as he put it) on whether Clinton used her non-State.gov email account to conduct government business.
Former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano was scheduled to testify on Monday, June 6. (More on this below). 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.
To see more JW analysis of the Mills testimony, you can go over to Fox News, which had JW representatives on here, here, and here. Also, The Wall Street Journal’s “Opinion Journal” covered the story here.