The FBI will give the State Department the “several thousand” work-related emails that Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to her former employer in 2014.
The move, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, paves the way for the State Department to release the former secretary of state’s entire work-related product.
A State Department spokesman declined to commit to that undertaking in a comment to The Wall Street Journal, but he did say that the agency is working with the FBI to resolve the matter.
“As we have said for many months, we will work with the FBI to determine the appropriate disposition of potential federal records it has recovered,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the Department, told The Journal.
The news comes hours after Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that she will not pursue charges against Clinton or her aides for mishandling classified information. She also said that the case will be formally closed.
That statement followed FBI director James Comey’s surprise announcement on Tuesday that he would be recommending to Lynch that charges not be filed in the case.
While Comey said that Clinton should not be charged, he hammered her over her “extremely careless” email practices.
During a dramatic 15-minute press conference, Comey provided some additional detail about Clinton’s missing emails.
“The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014,” he said.
In Dec. 2014, Clinton gave the State Department roughly 30,000 emails that her lawyers determined were work-related. Another 30,000 were deemed personal and deleted.
Clinton has claimed that her lawyers were “over-inclusive” by handing over around 1,000 emails that the State Department determined were not related to government business. That claim was greatly undermined by Comey’s announcement that “several thousand” missing emails were work-related.
“Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private email domain,” Comey explained on Tuesday.
Others were retrieved from archived government email accounts of people who emailed with Clinton. Another tranche of emails was found after a “laborious review” of millions of email fragments “dumped into the slack space” of Clintons’ server, said Comey.
The Obama appointee provided little detail about the contents of the missing emails. He did say that three contained information that was classified at the time they were sent or received. One had “Secret” information. The other two contained “Confidential” information.
The full body of Clinton’s work product is already the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Vice News reporter Jason Leopold filed suit against the Justice Department last year seeking the deleted or otherwise missing Clinton emails. The agency has argued against the release, filing several secret filings in the case.
Leopold’s lawyer said that he will continue to pursue the case in federal court.
“Mr. Leopold will pursue the release of the ‘newly discovered’ emails through both legal vehicles, as appropriate, to ensure the public is as informed as possible before the election,” Leopold’s attorney, Ryan James, told The Journal.