The FBI announced on Monday that it has discovered fifteen thousand previously undisclosed Clinton emails – a stash nearly half the size of the work-related emails Clinton actually turned over to the State Department.
If Clinton was trying to keep this material hidden until after the election, it appears she might have succeeded.
“The agency is currently assessing whether any of the new documents – which the FBI turned over to State following the close of its investigation – are of a personal nature or duplicates of previously-released emails. Following that assessment, it is reviewing on a rolling basis whether the pages are subject to federal records laws,” reports The Hill. “The first stage of the process is slated to be completed within a month. But it is the second part of the review process that has a more direct impact on when the documents will be made publicly available.”
“FBI found almost 15,000 new Clinton documents. When will State release them?” asked Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, on Twitter. Judicial Watch has been seeking Clinton’s records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
FBI found almost 15,000 new Clinton documents. When will State release them? Court hearing today.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 22, 2016
“It looks like the State Department is trying to slow-roll the release of the records. They’ve had them for at least a month, and we still don’t know when we’re going to get them,” Fitton said Monday morning, as quoted by the Washington Post.
An interesting detail from the Post story is that these 15,000 emails are all apparently messages sent directly to, or from, Clinton, not just email conversations she was looped into.
Appearing on C-SPAN Monday morning, Fitton noted that his group has often been forced to file lawsuits to obtain records under FOIA, because mere requests are so often ignored by the Obama Administration, and those lawsuits take a long time to resolve.
As Fitton noted, the existence of Hillary Clinton’s secret server was discovered tangentially, during one of his FOIA battles with the State Department over Benghazi:
“She took those documents, she had no right to taking them, and some of them were classified and confidential. It was just an unbelievable violation of law,” Fitton said of Clinton’s emails, noting that lower-level officials have suffered severe consequences for such infractions.
On C-SPAN, Fitton promised that everything his organization uncovers would be made available to the public before Election Day… but of course, he can only release what he is given, and this Administration has a knack for slow-walking damaging document productions until they become “old news.” As Fitton noted during his interview, federal judges have complained about these tardy responses and baffling omissions, not just citizen watchdogs or Republican partisans.
One might consider it remarkable to contemplate that Hillary Clinton would likely have surrendered none of her email correspondence for review by the State Department, Congress, or the American people if these FOIA lawsuits had not accidentally uncovered the existence of her secret server. She never “voluntarily” submitted anything, contrary to what her political team and media apologists have claimed.
The server was unearthed by legal proceedings before she handed over a single document… and since the day Clinton first claimed she had finally complied with the relevant laws and State Department protocols, many previously unseen emails have been discovered.
Now the FBI reports finding up to fifteen thousand more, and we still don’t seem to have learned anything conclusive about the over 30,000 emails Clinton deleted on her own. The Washington Post speculates that some of the newly uncovered emails might be messages Clinton deleted as “personal,” because her lawyers weren’t as thorough as the FBI in reviewing the documents for work-related material. If true, that would raise the question of how the FBI got its hands on so many emails Clinton deleted – and, contrary to her silly clueless-grandma “wiped with a cloth” evasions, one can imagine she was very thorough in destroying those messages.