In a bombshell announcement, Judicial Watch announced that the State Department has not even searched the majority of Hillary Clinton emails that it obtained from the FBI during the criminal investigation into Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State. In a statement on Monday, the transparency advocacy group declared that the State Department told a federal court that it has yet to process 40,000 of 72,000 pages of Clinton records that the FBI recovered last year. The revelation came during a federal court hearing in Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking the former top diplomat’s emails that were sent or received during her tenure from February 2009 to January 31, 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)).
The hearing before Judge James E. Boasberg, focused on the State Department’s processing of the tens of thousands of emails Clinton failed to disclose when she served as Secretary of State under Barack Obama. Some were sent by her top aide, Huma Abedin, and found by investigators on the laptop of her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. Thus far, the State Department has processed 32,000 pages of emails and released a small number. However, another 40,000 pages remain to be processed.
According to Judicial Watch, Judge Boasberg ordered the State Department on October 19 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 State Department under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions have previously argued before the court that there was diminished public interest in the Clinton emails.
In November 2016, the State Department was ordered to produce no less than 500 pages of records a month to Judicial Watch, emails of which the FBI found in its investigation into Clinton’s non-government email system. The State Department has produced 23 batches of documents so far. At the current pace, said a statement from Judicial Watch, the Clinton emails and other records won’t be fully available for possible release until at least 2020. Clinton attempted to delete 33,000 emails from her non-government server. The FBI investigation recovered or found a number of these missing emails, many of which were government documents.
The lawsuit was originally filed in May 2015.
According to a statement by Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, Tillerson “should be asked why his State Department is still sitting on a motherlode of Clinton emails.” Fitton added, “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.”
In a related lawsuit Judicial Watch recently revealed that the State Department admitted it received 2,800 Huma Abedin work-related documents from the FBI that were found on Weiner’s personal laptop. The State Department expects to complete its review and production of the FBI records by December 31, 2017.
FBI director James Comey, who was fired in January by President Donald Trump, had a backup email device belonging to Clinton during the entire election. Court records show that Datto -- an email storage company based in Connecticut -- surrendered a “device” consisting of five or six discs to the FBI in October 2015. The device may contain every electronic communication that Clinton receive while she served at the Department of State. The FBI handed the device over to the State Department, which has not searched it at all.
According to Big League Politics, Michael Bekesha of Judicial Watch said that his organization does not know what the FBI did with the device or information on it. Questions remain as to what information may be on the device that Clinton has not already surrendered and what Huma Abedin has not turned over. According to Big League Politics’ interview with researcher Larry Kawa, the device contains “everything.”