Fox News reports: In a combative exchange at a hearing Friday in Washington, D.C., a federal judge unabashedly accused career State Department officials of lying and signing “clearly false” affidavits to derail a series of lawsuits seeking information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth also said he was “shocked” and “dumbfounded” when he learned that FBI had granted immunity to former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills during its investigation into the use of Clinton’s server, according to a court transcript of his remarks.
“I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case,” Lamberth said during the hearing.
The Department of Justice’s Inspector General (IG), Michael Horowitz, noted in a bombshell report in June that it was “inconsistent with typical investigative strategy” for the FBI to allow Mills to sit in during the agency’s interview of Clinton during the email probe, given that classified information traveled through Mills’ personal email account. “[T]here are serious potential ramifications when one witness attends another witness’ interview,” the IG wrote.
Lamberth, who was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan, said he did not know Mills had been granted immunity until he “read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied [Clinton] to her interview.”
The transparency group Judicial Watch initially sued the State Department in 2014, seeking information about the response to the Benghazi attack after the government didn’t respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Other parallel lawsuits by Judicial Watch are probing issues like Clinton’s server, whose existence was revealed during the course of the litigation.
The State Department had immediately moved to dismiss Judicial Watch’s first lawsuit on a motion for summary judgment, saying in an affidavit that it had conducted a search of all potentially relevant emails in its possession and provided them. The affidavit noted that some more documents and emails could be forthcoming.
But Lamberth denied the request to dismiss the lawsuit at the time — and on Friday, he said he was happy he did, charging that State Department officials had intentionally misled him because other key documents, including those on Clinton’s email server, had not in fact been produced.