The State Department is citing a snowstorm expected to hit Washington D.C. this weekend and a need for additional “interagency review” in its request to a federal judge on Friday to grant it an additional month to complete its final release of all of Hillary Clinton’s work-related emails.
Federal judge Rudolph Contreras ruled last year in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Vice News’ Jason Leopold that the State Department had to release Clinton’s 55,000 pages of emails on a graduated schedule at the end of each month through Jan. 2016.
But as first reported by Leopold — and as confirmed by The Daily Caller — the State Department’s attorneys filed a motion in court on Friday asking for the deadline to be pushed to Feb. 29.
“In this filing, the Department asked the Court for a one month extension, to February 29th, to finish our production of former Secretary Clinton’s emails,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement to TheDC.
The final tranche of Clinton’s emails, Toner said, are “the most complex to process” since they “contain a large amount of material that required interagency review.”
And the processing of the records will by slowed by a brutal snowstorm expected to incapacitate much of Washington D.C. this weekend, the State Department claims in its court filing.
Because the Clinton email team must perform its work onsite…this storm will disrupt the Clinton
email team’s current plans to work a significant number of hours throughout the upcoming weekend and could affect
the number of documents that can be produced on January 29, 2016,” the filing reads.
The State Department is conferring with federal agencies within the intelligence community before clearing Clinton’s emails for release. So far, 1,340 emails have been deemed to contain classified information. The State Department claims, however, that the information was not classified when the emails were originated.
The intelligence community has also said that two of Clinton’s emails contained information that was classified as “top secret” when they were sent to her personal email account. And last week, the Intelligence Community inspector general sent a letter to two Senate committees stating that other Clinton emails contained “special access programs” intelligence, a type of information that is classified as even more sensitive than “top secret” information.
Toner said in his statement that the processing delay “is not due to any of the ongoing discussion about classification issues that are currently in the news.”
If Contreras grants the delay, it won’t be the first time State has missed its court-mandated deadline. The agency fell several thousand pages short of the 8,800 page goal that the judge set for last month’s release. The rest of the emails were published online on Jan. 7.
In his statement, Toner said that the State Department “will strive to produce as many documents as possible” on Jan. 29 and release the rest next month.
This article has been updated with additional information from the State Department.