The State Department’s proposal to wait until 2016 to release Hillary Clinton’s emails has been rejected by a federal judge.
Over 50,000 emails written by Hillary Clinton are set to be released thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit filed by Vice News. The State Department had proposed delaying the release until January 2016, but the plan was rejected by a federal judge, write Justin Fishel and Mike Levine for ABC.
State Department proposal rejected by judge
In response to the lawsuit, the State Department had declared that the process of reviewing the emails for release was so time-consuming that it should be granted until 15 January 2016 to do so. However Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected the request, and ordered the department to produce a production schedule for the release of Hillary Clinton’s emails by May 26.
Hillary Clinton herself wants the emails to be released as soon as possible. She said: “[the emails] belong to the State Department. So the State Department has to go through its process but as much as they can expedite that process, that’s what I’m asking them to do. Please move as quickly as they possibly can to get them out.”
Details about exactly when the State Department will be forced to release the emails are still not known. However it is thought that the decision to release them slowly over an extended period of time could be better for Clinton’s presidential campaign than releasing them next January, just 2 weeks prior to the primary election season.
Benghazi emails could be released this week
However the State Department has been ordered to set a deadline by which it will produce 300 of Hillary Clinton’s emails related to the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks which led to the deaths of 4 Americans, with Ambassador Chris Stevens among their number.
The emails were requested by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Gowdy has been leading the latest investigation into the attack for the past year, and has expressed a desire to call Clinton to testify on the matter. The Committee has already seen those 300 emails but has chosen not to release them, stating that it would rather wait to be granted access to all 50,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
According to officials who have seen the emails, they contain no incriminating evidence, and most are briefly worded and contain little information of substance. Those 300 emails could be released to the public later this week, according to the State Department.
Email controversy continues to dog Clinton
Interest in Hillary Clinton’s emails was piqued when it came to light that she had conducted official business using her own private email server while serving as Secretary of State. Security concerns were raised, but Clinton has since attempted to head off the controversy by pushing for the public release of her email correspondence.
John F. Hackett, acting director of the Office of Information Programs and Services at the State Department, says in the court filing that he is aware of the reasons for which the public wants to see the emails, and quickly.
“The collection is, however, voluminous and, due to the breadth of topics, the nature of the communications, and the interests of several agencies, presents several challenges,” Hackett wrote.
Clinton urges speedy release of emails
Clinton herself broke her media silence on Tuesday following a campaign event in Iowa. She took the opportunity to reiterate her desire for the emails to be released publicly. “I want them out as soon as they can get out,” she said. Clinton cannot, however, speed up the process herself, given that the emails actually belong to the State Department and not to her.
“Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do,” Clinton continued. “I respect the State Department. They have their process that they do for everybody, not just for me, but anything that they might do to expedite that process I heartily support.”
Despite her lack of personal influence over the speed of the release of the emails, Clinton is asking officials to “please move as quickly as they can to get them out.”
Clinton was also pressed on the issue of the Iraq War, and questioned as to whether it was a mistake. “I have made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple,” she said, referring to her vote to allow the war to go ahead.
The controversy surrounding Clinton’s emails continues to dog the presidential candidate. She seems confident that the quicker she can clear her name, the less the email affair will affect her campaign.