File - In this Sept. 20, 2011 file photo, Huma Abedin,
top, deputy chief of staff and aide to Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, during a meeting
with leaders for the Open Government Partnership in New
WASHINGTON — Longtime
Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin said in a legal proceeding
that Clinton did not want the private emails that she mixed
in with State Department emails on her private computer
server to be accessible to "anybody," according to
transcripts released Wednesday.
Abedin's comments provided new insight into the highly
unusual decision by the presumptive Democratic presidential
candidate to operate a private email server in her basement
to conduct government business when she served as secretary
Abedin also said under oath that she was not aware whether
Clinton personally deleted any emails during her tenure as
Abedin told lawyers for the conservative group Judicial
Watch in a deposition that she could not recall whether she
or Clinton discussed with any State Department officials
Clinton's use of her server exclusively for government
business. Abedin was Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the
State Department, now works with Clinton's presidential
campaign and often travels with the candidate. Abedin used
an email account on Clinton's server occasionally for
government business, although Abedin also used a government
"I assumed it was OK to do," she testified.
Abedin is one of several former State Department officials
who are being deposed by the conservative group in a civil
lawsuit over the agency's failure to turn over files under
the Freedom of Information Act. A transcript of the
proceeding was released by Judicial Watch on Wednesday.
Judicial Watch lawyers repeatedly pressed Abedin to explain
Clinton's concern expressed to her in a November 2010
message that her emails might become public, but the
longtime aide insisted that Clinton's interest in wanting to
keep her personal correspondence from being exposed was
similar to any private citizen's.
"I would imagine anybody who has personal email doesn't want
that personal email to be read by anybody else," Abedin
explained. "I read it the same way as she has written it."
But Clinton's private server contained tens of thousands of
work-related emails as well as private messages, and her
decision to conduct both private and government business on
her system meant that she kept control of both types of
correspondence, effectively preventing her State Department
correspondence from being archived by the agency and made
available for public records requests. It was not until late
2014 — more than a year after Clinton left office — that the
State Department learned that she held all of her email and
requested that she turn over all work-related records.
Clinton turned over nearly 33,000 business-related messages
while disposing of about the same number of personal
messages. But Clinton failed to turn over at least three
dozen work-related emails, according to the agency. Among
those emails was a November 2010 email exchange with Abedin
discussing her concerns about the risk of the "personal
The Clinton campaign Wednesday criticized Judicial Watch for
its role in filing several lawsuits against the State
Department, among more than 30 filed by conservative legal
groups and media outlets, including The Associated Press, to
obtain Clinton documents. Clinton campaign spokesman Nick
Merrill said Judicial Watch's lawsuits end up "clogging up
the courts at the expense of tens of millions of taxpayer
Abedin's deposition also raised questions about the State
Department's practices responding to government records
requests under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Abedin,
a senior aide during Clinton's entire tenure there,
testified under oath that she never searched or was asked to
search for documents in her State Department or her private
Clinton email accounts in response to requests or lawsuits
under the open records law.
But a review of all requests to the State Department during
that period found several asking specifically for copies of
Abedin's emails on a variety of subjects, including her
husband, one-time disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner.
"Did you ever search, were you ever asked to search your
state.gov e-mail account in response to a FOIA request or
FOIA litigation?" lawyer Ramona Cocta asked.
"I believe I said 'no,'" Abedin answered.
"Were you ever asked to search your Clinton email.com
account during your tenure at the State Department in
response to a FOIA request or FOIA litigation?" Cocta asked.
"No, I was not," Abedin said.
It was not immediately clear how the State Department could
have complied with such legal requests for Abedin's emails
without asking Abedin to search her messages. Some federal
agencies permit full-time FOIA staffers to search the
inboxes of senior government officials, but many agencies
expect officials to search their own accounts and no U.S.
employee presumably would have had access to Abedin's
personal account on Clinton's private server. Abedin said
she was not aware that anyone else searched her accounts,
Trump hires Rep. Duffy's chief of
staff in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. — Donald Trump has hired U.S. Rep. Sean
Duffy's chief of staff to run his campaign in Wisconsin, the
presumptive Republican presidential nominee's campaign told
The Associated Press on Thursday.
The move indicates that Trump will be making a push to win
Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, a Midwestern
industrial state that hasn't voted Republican since 1984.
Wisconsin is expected to be a key target in the expected
race between Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee
Trump lost Wisconsin's April primary by 13 points to Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz, but won Duffy's rural congressional district
and a similar one in the western part of the state. Duffy, a
former contestant on the reality show The Real World in the
late 1990s and in 2002, was elected to Congress in 2010.
Pete Meachum has been Duffy's chief of staff since December
2012 and will join Trump's effort immediately, the campaign
said. Meachum joins Vince Trovato, who had worked for Trump
in Wisconsin's primary, as his two paid staff members in the
state. Trump's campaign says Trovato will focus his work on
the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Wisconsin is sending 42 delegates to the convention, but
under state party rules 36 of them are bound to vote for
Cruz in the first round of balloting. They can only be
released to Trump if Cruz allows it or Cruz fails to get a
third of the votes in any round of balloting.
A spokeswoman for Clinton's campaign in Wisconsin, Gillian
Drummond, had no immediate comment on the latest Trump hire.
Clinton has had paid staff in Wisconsin since early May, led
by Jacob Hajdu, who previously served as political director
and executive director of the Democratic Party Of Wisconsin.
Clinton currently has five paid staff members in her
Madison-based office, and more field offices are expected to
open in coming weeks.
Clinton had a 9-point advantage over Trump in a Marquette
University Law School poll released June 15.
There was a strong anti-Trump push in Wisconsin that helped
fuel his defeat in the state's primary, with influential
conservative talk radio hosts in Milwaukee and other major
media markets at the forefront. Gov. Scott Walker campaigned
heavily for Cruz and many other Republican office holders
While Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Janesville,
have endorsed Trump, both have been critical of some of his
remarks in recent weeks. Walker has hedged his endorsement
as other Republicans in the state have been slow to publicly
Duffy was one of only two Republicans who spoke at the
Wisconsin Republican Party convention in May to even refer
to Trump by name.
"We're going to continue to make America great again, and
we're going to make America great again with Donald Trump,"
Duffy said then.