Huma Abedin: Clinton Email Server Interfered with Secretary of State’s Job

As her closest aide Huma Abedin, center, precedes her, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, emerges from her residence following a private meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., the day after Warren’s endorsement, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Watchdog group Judicial Watch has released the deposition of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who identified her current position as Vice-Chair of the Hillary for America presidential campaign. The deposition was given on Tuesday as part of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over Abedin’s unusual employment status with the State Department, a lawsuit that was reopened after the secret system was discovered.

The most interesting part of the deposition was Abedin’s description of how Hillary Clinton’s homebrew email server interfered with her ability to perform as Secretary of State.

Abedin wrote an email to Clinton in which she advised the Secretary to get an official State Department email address “so you are not going to spam.”

Pressed on this advice in her deposition, Abedin recounted a specific instance in which an email that would have set up a phone call with a foreign minister apparently ended up in a spam folder, because it came from the server.

“She missed the call because she never got the — I never got her email suggests — giving us the signoff to do it,” said Abedin. “So she wasn’t able to do her job, do what she needed to do.”

“My response would have been, here are some suggestions,” Abedin continued. “I cannot tell you if I called somebody else. I don’t remember calling anybody else. Or if I on my own said, here are some solutions so that your emails get through to us, so that we can place calls to foreign officials. And you know, she clearly missed the window in this exchange.”

When it was noted that Abedin specifically advised Clinton about “releasing your email address to the department,” Abedin claimed she didn’t remember exactly what she meant.

“I’m not sure I would know how to define that then or define that now,” she said. “I might also have just been frustrated back at the fact that I wasn’t getting her messages. Just reading the exchange, she seems frustrated because she’s not able to do her job. I seem frustrated back because I’m not… so I couldn’t define to you exactly what that meant.”

In other words, it seems rather clear from the exchange that Abedin was advising Clinton to tell other State Department officials about her secret server, so they would realize she wasn’t using a email address and adjust their spam filters accordingly, but now she claims she’s not sure what she really meant.

Abedin also had a lot of trouble dealing with a 2010 email Clinton wrote her, saying “let’s get separate address or device, but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.” Most of what follows is her lawyers objecting to the questions. Eventually, Abedin ventured, “I would imagine anybody who has personal email doesn’t want that personal email to be read by anybody else.”

Also notable from the Abedin deposition: she said she had nothing to do with setting up the server; she was unaware the server existed until she was given her own email account on it. She said her account setup was mostly handled by senior staffer Justin Cooper, rather than Bryan Pagliano, the Clinton IT technician who ended up invoking the Fifth Amendment 125 times to avoid testifying about the email server.

She expressed her belief that only she, Hillary Clinton, and Mrs. Clinton’s daughter Chelsea had email accounts on the server. Abedin insisted that she only used her ClintonEmail account for personal messages, using her account for official State Department business, although she was aware Clinton never had a proper address.

Abedin (rather improbably) claimed no one at the State Department ever discussed Freedom of Information Act policies with her.

“I don’t remember a specific FOIA briefing or training,” she said. “But there were many transition trainings that took place when we first arrived at the State Department.” She conceded that she might have been provided with FOIA manuals, but does not remember them if so. Abedin added that she was uncertain as to whether Hillary Clinton was given any FOIA training.


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