Some good and some bad news for transparency advocates was disclosed moments ago, when the State Department announced it would release all of the deleted work-related emails that the FBI recovered from Hillary Clinton’s private system, it confirmed in a recent court filing, eliminating the possibility that the messages will remain secret. “State has voluntarily agreed to produce non-exempt agency records responsive to plaintiff’s [Freedom of Information Act] request,” the department said in a short filing on Friday.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, according to the Hill, “it remains unsettled whether the full set of emails will be out by the presidential election on Nov. 8.”
In other words, when finally released, the emails will have zero impact on the presidential election.
The State Department has declined to set a timeline for releasing the emails, and a court conference to discuss the matter has been scheduled for Aug. 22. Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, has urged the department to release the emails before the elections.
Clinton has repeatedly stated that she believes that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order, she declared under penalty of perjury that she had “directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.” This acknowledgment by the State Department is also at odds with her official campaign statement suggesting all “work or potentially work-related emails” were provided to the State Department.
The thousands of messages will be released to Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that has filed a litany of legal complaints over the former secretary of State’s email setup, the department said. Judicial Watch, which routinely releases documents it obtains via open records lawsuits, is expected to make the emails public.
The announcement appears to be a clever loophole: while the State Department had been expected to release the emails, which are the subject of multiple open records lawsuits, the new confirmation assures that the full docket of emails will be handed over. The release however, will likely come at a time when they are no longer relevant.
The lawsuit as part of which the department made the Friday filing, which was brought by Judicial Watch, seeks “any and all emails sent or received” by Clinton while she served as the nation’s top diplomat.
Judicial Watch, which has almost singlehandedly waged a war against Hillary Clinton’s constant attempts to cover up the truth, was content with the decision.
In a statement released earlier today, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said that “The American people will now see more of the emails Hillary Clinton tried to hide from them. Simply put, our lawsuits have unraveled Hillary Clinton’s email cover-up.”
Then again, the American people may no longer care.
In the Judicial Watch statement it added that the State Department is also processing six other discs of records from “custodians other than former Secretary Clinton … including [but not limited to] materials from Ms. Abedin’s clintonemail.com account.” One of the discs of information is so large that State has asked the court for additional time to process them: “Because of the volume of materials located on the final disc, State requires additional time to load them into a document management system so that they can be searched.”
In 2014, Clinton gave the State Department roughly 30,000 emails from her private email system, which she claimed were work-related. A batch of another 30,000 emails was “purely personal”, she claimed at the time, and was deleted.
However, the FBI managed to recover some of those deleted emails during the course of its yearlong investigation into Clinton’s “homebrew” system, and discovered “several thousand” that were work-related and ought to have been handed over to the State Department for record-keeping purposes. Three of those emails contained information that was classified, Director James Comey told reporters last month.
Despite what may have been a clear case involving not just dissemination of classified materials and perjury, but also wilfull document destruction despite an existing subpoena demanding full production, the FBI decided not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.
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