WASHINGTON — A veteran aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she discussed Clinton’s private email server with a technical aide who helped set up and run the system, according to a court deposition released Tuesday by a conservative legal group.
Longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills acknowledged in five hours of testimony last week that her conversations with the technical aide, Bryan Pagliano, took place after Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2013.
Mills, who was Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department and later her private attorney, told lawyers for the legal group Judicial Watch that she spoke to Pagliano several times about the setup of Clinton’s email system. But Mills’ lawyers declined to allow Mills to speak in detail about Pagliano’s work or whether he was working at the time for either Clinton or her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Judicial Watch has sued the State Department for access to public records about Clinton’s use of private emails in her public job.
Pagliano has reportedly cooperated with the FBI in its separate probe of Clinton’s emails but last year refused to testify to a congressional committee about his work on the email server, which was installed in the basement of the Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
Clinton has said publicly that she is willing to talk with the FBI in its investigation, but said Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC that the agency has not yet scheduled a session with her.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Tuesday that the extended session with Mills and her attorneys provided more information “about her email system, about its impact on FOIA (public records searches) and the fact that Ms. Mills was talking with Mr. Pagliano about this system after she left the State Department.”
Much of the session, however, devolved into legal objections and sparring between lawyers for Mills and the legal group over how much she could relate without veering away from careful legal limits imposed by both sides.
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Mills did say she recalled speaking with Pagliano, who worked both as a private technical consultant to Clinton and as a special State Department aide during Clinton’s tenure, as far back as 2008 – a period when Pagliano was still working as an aide for Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential try. Mills did not characterize the discussions and said she could not recall in detail any discussions at the time about the set-up of Clinton’s email server.
Mills also said she had expected that all the emails that she received from and sent to Clinton’s private email addresses would have been preserved and archived by State officials because her messages originated from the State Department’s email system.
“It was my impression that when she emailed, because it was her practice to email people on their State accounts when she was doing State business, that any of those communications would be captured and maintained by the State Department system,” Mills said.
On Tuesday Clinton said she never instructed any of her aides to “hide the fact that I was using a personal email … it was obvious to many people,” she told MSNBC.
A report from the State Department inspector general last week said that on at least one occasion, a State Department supervisor warned two other agency officials not to raise questions about Clinton’s use of private emails.