(CN) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday complied with a federal court order that she answer questions about her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
In August, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected Judicial Watch's request that Clinton submit a sworn deposition related to its lawsuit over her server use.
But in doing so, Sullivan said Judicial Watch could submit questions to Clinton by Oct. 14, and that the presidential candidate would have 30 days to respond - a timetable that in theory would have allowed her to avoid answering the questions until after the election.
Judicial watch submitted its questions almost immediately, and on Thursday, Clinton's legal team submitted a 23-page response in which it objected to the queries on the grounds "that any discovery of Secretary Clinton is unwarranted in this case" and that the requested information was largely "outside the scope of permitted discovery in this case."
Nevertheless, Clinton went on to answer more than two dozen questions about her use of her clintonemail.com account.
For the most part, Clinton is vague in her recollections. She says she began using email while serving in the U.S. Senate, and that the email account at the center of the Judicial Watch lawsuit was set up in early 2009 by Justin Cooper, an aide to former President Bill Clinton.
"Secretary Clinton does not have specific knowledge of the details of the account's creation," he response says.
Clinton says she does not recall any specific State Department consultations regarding her use of a private email account after she became secretary of state, but says "former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised her in 2009 about his use of a personal e-mail account to conduct official State Department business."
This assertion, made throughout the Democratic primaries, has infuriated Powell, according to dozens of emails hacked from his private Gmail account and published on the D.C. Leaks website.
In those emails, Powell maintains he never advised Clinton about her use of a private email account to conduct State Department business and angrily complains that he warned her campaign not to continue to make such claims.
Clinton says during her years at the State Department she believed her emails to staff who were using government and not private email accounts would be captured by the department's record-keeping system and therefore subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
She said she did not recalled State Department personnel ever asking for access to her clintonemail.com email account to search for material responsive to an FOIA request.
She says she "did not consider how e-mails she sent to or received from persons who did not have State Department e-mail accounts would be searched by the Department in response to FOIA requests," the court documents say.
Clinton also says she did not review a February 2011 State Department noting "a dramatic increase since January 2011 in attempts ... to compromise the private home email accounts of senior Department officials."
She later says "she does not recall being advised, cautioned or warned during her tenure of Secretary of State about hacking or attempted hacking of her clintonemail.com e-mail account or the server that hosted her clintonemail.com account."
Clinton says she doesn't recall ever thinking about altering, destroying or using any of her State Department emails after she stepped down as secretary, or instructing anyone else to do so.
She says she believes her attorneys have copies of the emails she provided to the State Department in December 2014, but that she does not have any personal knowledge about the details of the process.
"Secretary Clinton decided that, once her work-related and potentially work-related e-mails were provided to the State Department, she had no reason to keep her personal e-mails, which did not relate to official State Department business," the court documents said.
Clinton says she believes those personal emails were not kept, and that she does not have any personal knowledge of what became of them.
In all, Clinton says 20 times that she does not recall the information requested by Judicial Watch, and maintains she was never advised that her private email account might run afoul of federal record keeping laws.
"Secretary Clinton states that she does not recall being advised, cautioned, or warned, she does not recall that it was ever suggested to her, and she does not recall participating in any communication, conversation, or meeting in which it was discussed that her use of a clintonemail.com e-mail account to conduct official State Department business conflicted with or violated federal recordkeeping laws," the response says.
Nothing in Clinton's response to the lawsuit contradicts what's she said about the subject in the past, or that FBI reports she said when she was interviewed by the agency in July.
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