Abedin’s Key Clinton Email Claim Contradicted by Former Aide

June 18, 2019 Updated: June 18, 2019

WASHINGTON—Former aide Justin Cooper said in a Judicial Watch deposition created on March 19 and made public on June 18 that he worked with Huma Abedin in 2009 to set up the unsecured private email account used by the former secretary of state to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business.

Cooper’s statement contradicts Abedin’s claim in a 2016 deposition by the non-profit government watchdog that she only learned about the private email setup in 2015 by “reading in some news articles about a year, a year-and-a-half ago, when it was—it was being publicly discussed.”

Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, was deputy chief of staff throughout Clinton’s tenure as the United States’ chief diplomat and continued with her during the Democratic candidate’s unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2016.

Asked if the Cooper deposition represents additional legal problems for Abedin, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told The Epoch Times on June 18 that “the legal liabilities never went away, so it’s a matter of political will by the Justice Department. … The leadership is going to have to step up to move forward on any of this.”

Cooper, who was an adviser to President Bill Clinton, also said that a week before his deposition, he spoke with Cheryl Mills, the attorney who served as Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department and represented her legally during the FBI’s investigation of the email server. Mills accompanied Hillary Clinton when she was interviewed by the FBI.

Mills is especially controversial because U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Royce Lamberth said in a related case that he “was actually dumbfounded when I found out, in reading that report, that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity because … 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 DOJ [Department of Justice] in the Hillary Clinton email case.”

The report Lambert said he read was from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz concerning the FBI’s conduct of its investigation of the Clinton email system.

Cooper’s deposition was given as a result of a blistering Lamberth decision granting Judicial Watch limited discovery, after the judge concluded that attorneys and officials representing DOJ, Hillary Clinton, and the State Department filed false affidavits in the non-profit’s 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents.

“The Court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer to plan discovery into (a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests,” Lamberth wrote in his opinion in the case.

Lambert also blasted Mills in another related Judicial Watch case, that one concerning White House management of emails during Bill Clinton’s tenure in the Oval Office. Lamberth described Mills’s conduct in that case as “loathsome.”

Judicial Watch said in a statement releasing the Cooper deposition that he “also testified that there were two servers: an original ‘Apple server’ and then a Windows server, which was ‘the Pagliano server,’ named after Clinton’s top State Department IT specialist Bryan Pagliano. Cooper said he couldn’t recall whether the Apple server was wiped once her emails were transferred over to the Pagliano server in early 2009.”

Cooper told Judicial Watch in the deposition that he set up “two or three” email accounts on the Clinton private system, and that he and Pagliano established accounts for the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, and for Abedin.

Pagliano was a Clinton State Department IT official who invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions repeatedly in a 2016 deposition and in his congressional testimony, according to Judicial Watch.