WASHINGTON—Heather Samuelson, Hillary Clinton’s personal attorney, gave the FBI and Judicial Watch conflicting explanations of when she learned that the former secretary of state used a private email system to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business.
“I believe I first became aware when either she e-mailed me on personal matters, such as wishing me happy birthday, or when I infrequently would receive e-mails forwarded to me from others at the department that had that e-mail address listed elsewhere in the document,” Samuelson told Judicial Watch lawyers during a June 13, 2019, deposition.
Samuelson worked in the Department of State’s liaison office to President Barack Obama’s White House at the time, according to Judicial Watch.
The 2016 conversation with the FBI was part of the bureau’s highly controversial investigation of the Clinton private email system, which culminated with then-FBI Director James Comey’s July 5, 2016, announcement that he wouldn't recommend prosecution of the former chief diplomat.
Clinton used the private email system, originally on a server located in the New York mansion she shares with former President Bill Clinton, throughout her tenure as the top U.S. diplomat, from 2009 to 2013.
Lamberth described Clinton’s private email system as “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency,” and ordered Samuelson and nearly a dozen other former Clinton aides to answer Judicial Watch’s questions either in depositions or in written responses.
“She was primarily responsible for conducting the review of Clinton emails and sorting out ‘personal’ emails from government emails, which were returned to the State Department under the direction of [former Clinton Chief of Staff] Cheryl Mills and [another] Clinton lawyer, David Kendall,” the Judicial Watch statement said.
“After the emails were returned to State, Clinton deleted the rest of the ‘personal’ emails from her server, wiping it clean. Samuelson conducted the review of emails on her laptop, using Clinton server files downloaded from Platte River Networks, which housed the Clinton email server,” the statement continued.
Samuelson’s contradiction of her prior statement to the FBI is significant because she also told Judicial Watch that she had been granted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) what she described as “limited production immunity” in June 2016.
It isn't known whether the DOJ’s grant of immunity insulated Samuelson against whatever legal obligation she may have had while working in the White House or the State Department to disclose to law enforcement officials her knowledge that Clinton wasn't using a secured U.S. government communications system to conduct official diplomatic business.
Gohmert said the Chinese “actually hacked Hillary Clinton’s personal server—as our intel community established without any question—even though the FBI refused to ever examine the evidence.”
A forensic analysis of Clinton’s emails conducted by the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) had determined that a copy of virtually every email from Clinton’s server was sent to an unauthorized source, Gohmert said.
Dozens of highly classified documents were sent to and from Clinton on her private email system when she was secretary of state.
Samuelson is the second former Clinton associate to be found in the Judicial Watch depositions to have told the FBI one thing in 2016, only to have it contradicted in 2019.
Cooper’s claim contradicted Abedin’s previous claim in a 2016 deposition by Judicial Watch that she only learned of the private email system 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 was deputy chief of staff throughout Clinton’s tenure at the State Department and then worked for her throughout her primary and general election campaign for president in 2016.
“The news that the Obama DOJ gave immunity to Heather Samuelson, Hillary Clinton’s lawyer responsible for the infamous deletion of 33,000 emails, further confirms the sham FBI/DOJ investigation of the Clinton email scandal,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in the statement accompanying the deposition’s release.
“And it is curious that Ms. Samuelson changed her story about what she knew and when about the Clinton email system. Attorney General William Barr can’t reopen the Clinton email investigation fast enough,” Fitton said.