A federal judge ordered the Department of State on Thursday to explain their delayed pace in producing emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stored on a private server.
A hearing was held to check in on the State Department’s progress in processing and releasing 72,000 pages of non-government emails that Clinton failed to disclose during her tenure as Secretary of State and later tried to delete.
The State Department was ordered to turn over no less than 500 pages of emails per month to Judicial Watch in response to a 2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. They have thus far processed 32,000 pages and released a small fraction of those. If they continue at this pace they will not fulfill the request until 2020 at the earliest, according to Judicial Watch.
During the hearing, State Department representatives announced they have added additional resources to their FOIA response team but would not commit to releasing documents at a faster pace. Judge Boasberg responded by ordering the State Department to “explain how its anticipated increase in resources will affect processing of records in this case and when the processing of each disk is likely to be completed.”
The FBI recovered the cache of documents the State Department is processing as part of an investigation into Clinton’s deletion of some 33,000 emails stored on a private server. The State Department previously argued they should not be required to produce the emails due to diminished public interest.
“Secretary Tillerson should be asked why his State Department is still sitting on a motherlode of Clinton emails,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “It is disheartening that an administration elected to ‘drain the swamp’ is stalling the release of documents to protect Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.”
A related Judicial Watch lawsuit revealed the State Department admitted they received 2,800 work related emails sent by Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
Judicial Watch also petitioned the court during the hearing to require that the State Department identify any records recovered by the FBI that they plan to withhold and to explain their justification in a timely manner.
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