CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday pressed the State Department to expedite the release of 55,000 pages of emails from her time as secretary of state, telling reporters in Iowa, “I want those emails out.”
Clinton reiterated her push to release the emails shortly after a federal judge rejected the State Department’s proposal to disseminate portions of the emails by next January and said the agency must instead conduct a “rolling production” of the records.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential election, said she wanted the documents to be released as soon as possible, saying, “Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do.” Asked if she would demand their release, Clinton said of the emails, “They’re not mine. They belong to the State Department.”
Clinton spoke after a small business event for her campaign in Iowa, the home of the nation’s first presidential caucuses. The disclosure that she conducted State Department business on a private email account has been a controversy from the very inception of her campaign this year and raised questions about her commitment to transparency.
During the Tuesday hearing, a federal judge gave the State Department a week to craft a schedule for releasing the records, according to Vice News lawyer Jeffrey Light.
Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the State Department would comply with the court’s order for the “rolling production” of emails.
The agency had made its initial proposal in a federal court filing Monday night, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Vice News.
In the filing, John F. Hackett, who is responsible for the department’s responses to FOIA requests, said that following a review of the emails, the department will post the releasable portions of the 55,000 pages on its website. He said the review will take until the end of the year — and asked the court to adopt a completion date of Jan. 15, 2016, to factor in the holidays. That’s just a couple of weeks before the Iowa caucuses and early state primaries that follow.
In Monday night’s filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Hackett said the State Department received the 55,000 pages of emails from Clinton in paper form.
“Given the breadth and importance of the many foreign policy issues on which the secretary of state and the department work, the review of these materials will likely require consultation with a broad range of subject matter experts within the department and other agencies, as well as potentially with foreign governments,” he said. “…The department is committed to processing the 55,000 pages as expeditiously as possible, while taking into consideration the department’s other legal obligations.”
He said the department understands the considerable public interest in the records, but said the size of the collection, the nature of the emails and the interest of several agencies present challenges.
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