The FBI's yearlong investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server uncovered 14,900 emails and documents from her time as secretary of state that had not been disclosed by her attorneys, and a federal judge on Monday pressed the State Department to begin releasing emails sooner than mid-October, as it planned.
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Justice Department lawyers said last week that the State Department would review and turn over Clinton's work-related emails to a conservative legal group. The records are among "tens of thousands" of documents found by the FBI in its probe and turned over to the State Department, Justice Department attorney Lisa Olson said Monday in court.
Olson told U.S. District Judge James Boasberg that officials do not yet know what portion of the emails is work-related rather than personal.
The 14,900 Clinton documents are nearly 50 percent above the roughly 30,000 emails that Clinton's lawyers deemed work-related and returned to the department in December 2014. The department has publicly released most of those emails, although some have been withheld because they contain information considered sensitive to national security.
Olson said it was "extremely ambitious" for the agency to complete its review and begin releasing the first batches of emails to Judicial Watch by Oct. 14, given the volume of messages. Judicial Watch lawyer Lauren Burke called that schedule too slow and pressed for faster release of the emails.
"What have they been doing for the past four weeks?" she asked Boasberg, complaining that the government will have had the recovered records for 10 weeks before any of them are released.
Lawyers for the State Department and Judicial Watch are negotiating a plan for the release of the emails in a civil public-records lawsuit before Boasberg.
In a statement after a hearing at the U.S. district courthouse in Washington, D.C., Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the group was pleased that Boasberg rejected the department's proposal to begin releasing documents weekly on Oct. 14, ordering it instead to prioritize Clinton's emails and to return to court Sept. 22 with a new plan.
Boasberg didn't set a schedule on Monday for their being made public, raising the prospect that new messages sent or received by Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, could become public just before November's election.
"We're pleased the court accelerated the State Department's timing," Fitton said.
In a statement, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the agency previously agreed voluntarily to hand over emails sent or received by Clinton in her official capacity as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, but that tens of thousands of documents would have to be "carefully appraised at State" to separate official records from personal ones.
"State has not yet had the opportunity to complete a review of the documents to determine whether they are agency records or if they are duplicative of documents State has already produced through the Freedom of Information Act," Toner said. "We cannot comment further as this matter is in ongoing litigation."
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said, "As we have always said, Hillary Clinton provided the State Department with all the work-related emails she had in her possession in 2014. We are not sure what additional materials the Justice Department may have located, but if the State Department determines any of them to be work-related, then obviously we support those documents being released publicly as well."
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in May 2015 after disclosures that Clinton had exclusively used a personal email server while secretary of state. Judicial Watch had sought all emails sent or received by Clinton at the State Department in a request made under the federal Freedom of Information Act, which covers the release of public records.
Monday's hearing comes seven weeks after the Justice Department closed without charges a criminal investigation into the handling of classified material in Clinton's email setup, which FBI Director James Comey called "extremely careless."
On Aug. 5, the FBI completed transferring what Comey said were several thousand previously undisclosed work-related Clinton emails that the FBI found in its investigation for the State Department to review and make public. Government lawyers until now had given no details about how many emails the FBI found or when the full set would be released. It is unclear how many documents might be attachments, duplicates or exempt from release for privacy or legal reasons.
The emails obtained by the FBI came from the accounts of other people she communicated with or were recovered through the bureau's forensic examination of her old server.
In announcing the FBI's findings in July, Comey said investigators found no evidence that the emails it found "were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them." Like many users, Clinton periodically deleted emails, or they were purged when devices were changed.
Clinton's lawyers also may have deleted some of the emails as "personal," Comey said, noting that their review relied on header information and search terms, not a line-by-line reading as the FBI conducted.
Also on Monday, Judicial Watch released 20 previously undisclosed email exchanges involving Clinton that were turned over by her former deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin.
They were among hundreds of Abedin emails released Monday by the group, including a June 23, 2009, message to Abedin from Doug Band, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton, who then was an official at the Clinton family's charitable foundation. Republicans charge that donors to the foundation, including foreign governments and corporations, got preferential treatment from the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
Band sought to arrange for the crown prince of Bahrain to meet with Hillary Clinton while the prince was visiting Washington. "Good friend of ours," Band wrote to Abedin, one of Clinton's closest aides.
Crown Prince Salman had in 2005 made a $32 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a program run by the foundation.
In later emails Abedin confirmed that Clinton would meet with the prince. Copies of Clinton's calendar obtained by AP confirm the meeting occurred in her State Department office on June 26, 2009.
Toner, the State Department spokesman, said Monday that there was nothing improper or unusual about the messages with the Clinton Foundation staff.
"There was no impropriety," Toner said. "This was simply evidence of the way the process works in that, you know, any secretary of state has aides who are getting emails or contacts by a broad range of individuals and organizations."
In a statement, the government of Bahrain said the $32 million pledge was in support of a scholarship program for youths from the Persian Gulf kingdom. The purpose of Salman's 2009 visit with Clinton was unrelated, according to the statement.
"As deputy head of state, the crown prince has and will continue to meet with U.S. officials to address matters of mutual interest in the future," the statement said.
But the exchanges, among 725 pages of correspondence from Abedin, illustrate the way the Clintons' international network of friends and donors was able to get access to Clinton and her inner circle during her tenure running the State Department.
The emails show that, in this and similar cases, the donors did not always get what they wanted, particularly when they sought anything more than a meeting.
Abedin expressed qualms, for example, when Band appealed to her to help arrange an interview in the British Embassy to get a visa for a member of the Wolverhampton Football Club who had a criminal charge against him. Band was helping Casey Wasserman, a sports marketing executive who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation.
Josh Schwerin, a Clinton campaign spokesman, said in a statement Monday that Judicial Watch is "distorting facts to make utterly false attacks."
"No matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as Secretary of State because of donations to the Clinton Foundation," he said.
In addition, a GOP lawmaker on Monday issued subpoenas to three private companies that helped run or protect Clinton's email server. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who chairs the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, is demanding documents by Sept. 9 after the firms declined earlier this year to produce them voluntarily.
The demands are part of a joint probe by Smith and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel.
The subpoenas target Platte River Networks, which provided information technology services for Clinton's server; Datto Inc., which furnished immediate recovery of back-up data in the event the primary server failed; and SECNAP Network Security Corp., which carried out threat monitoring of the network connected to Clinton's server. The firms' services were retained in 2013.
Information for this article was contributed by Spencer S. Hsu, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post; by Michael Biesecker, Eileen Sullivan, Chad Day, Stephen Braun, Eric Tucker and Matthew Lee of The Associated Press; by Andrew Harris of Bloomberg News; and by Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times.
A Section on 08/23/2016
Print Headline: Probe dug up 14,900 Cinton emails