Cheryl Mills — who served as Associate Counsel to the President in the White House in the Bill Clinton Administration, defended Clinton in his 1999 impeachment trial, and served as the Counselor and Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton when Clinton was Secretary of State — tried to block certain records involving Clinton that had been requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), according to the Wall Street Journal.
On Wednesday, the Journal reported that Mills requested that she review documents dealing with the Keystone XL pipeline and demanded that they be held back, at the same time that the State Department was reviewing them. According to the Journal, State slowed down the release of documents after Mills’ request. One source told the Journal that Mills “told a records specialist that if he released records she wanted held back, Mrs. Clinton’s office wouldn’t comply with any future document requests on any topic.”
In addition, the Journal reported that Mills resisted approving various documents discussing the speeches Bill Clinton was paid to make.
Nick Merrill, spokesman for Hillary Clinton, argued that nothing was amiss, asserting, “Secretary Clinton’s State Department took that process seriously and made it a priority, and to suggest otherwise would be wrong.” He contended that Mills “did not inappropriately interfere with the FOIA process” and “has spent her career contributing to the greater good.”
State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach protested to the Journal that State follows public-records law and that FOIA requests are regularly sent to staff members in secretaries’ offices.
This week, in an attempt to clear her name of the lack of transparency associated with it, Hillary Clinton tried to put the matter of her private email account past her, insisting, “I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do … I respect the State Department. They have their process, as they do for everybody, not just for me, but anything that they might do to expedite that process, I heartily support. … I want the American people to learn as much as we can about the work that I did.”
She added, “[The emails are] not mine. They belong to the State Department. So the State Department has to go through its process, and as much as they can expedite that process — that’s what I’m asking them to do.”
On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the State Department not to wait until next January, as State would have preferred, but to release Clinton’s emails on a rolling basis.