Former top Obama replied ‘do not recall’ 18 times in 13-page interrogatory
Said she ‘does not recall’ who gave her key Benghazi Talking Points she used on TV, ‘does not recall’ being in any meetings regarding Benghazi in five days following attack, and ‘does not recall’ communicating with anyone in Clinton’s office about Benghazi Talking Points
WASHINGTON, DC – Judicial Watch announced today that former Obama National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, admitted in written responses given under oath that she emailed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Clinton’s non-government email account and that she received emails related to government business on her own personal email account. Rice’s 2019 sworn written answers are available here.
The State Department objected to all questions, instructions and definitions posed to Rice in Judicial Watch’s court-ordered written discovery and “does not recall” almost everything else, including conversations with Clinton.
In responding to each of the 13 questions asked of her, Rice claimed 18 times that she “does not recall” critical information.
- When asked to describe meetings or discussions about the events in Benghazi other than daily intelligence briefings, Rice said that she had discussions with friends and family, and “does not recall attending any meetings focused on the events in Benghazi between September 11, 2012 and September 16, 2012, other than attending a ceremony on September 14, 2012, at Joint Base Andrews … ” Rice said she believes she would have discussed the Benghazi attack with members of her UN staff, colleagues at the United Nations, and individuals in attendance at the ceremony on September 14, 2012, at Joint Base Andrews.
- When asked why she used a non-government email accounts to conduct U.S. government business while U.S. Ambassador to the United States, Rice acknowledged using her personal email account, at times, to conduct official government business without answering the question why she used non-government email accounts.
- Rice did not directly answer a question about deleting emails. Rather, Rice answered that “when emails related to U.S. government business were sent to [her] personal email account, [she] took steps to ensure that a copy of that email was also on her government email account.” and she “does not recall having need to review and return emails form any non-governmental email account.”
Rice’s interrogatory responses come in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records concerning “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). This FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015. Judicial Watch uncovered “talking points” created by the Obama White House and other documents showing that statements about the attack made on the eve of the 2012 elections by then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice were false.
On December 6, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers and Clinton aides, as well as Susan Rice, to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. Judge Lamberth called the Clinton email system “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
Judicial Watch’s discovery is centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing Judicial Watch’s FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.
“Susan Rice didn’t recall much about the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attack,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Similarly, Hillary Clinton couldn’t recall much in her written sworn responses to Judicial Watch questions – which is one reason why a federal court judge ordered her in-person deposition testimony.”
On March 2, 2020, Judge Lamberth granted Judicial Watch discovery that includes taking testimony from Clinton and Cheryl Mills, under oath, regarding Clinton’s emails and the existence of records about the Benghazi attack. Clinton and Mills filed an emergency mandamus appeal to avoid testimony. Their petition is still pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.