Hillary can’t shake email controversy

Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBiden rips Senate GOP healthcare bill, says it 'isn't about healthcare' Clinton: If Republicans pass ObamaCare repeal, 'they're the death party' Report: Biden scolded hedge fund manager over late son MORE is struggling to move past the controversy over her use of a private email account as secretary of State, which now threatens to spill over into 2016.

Addressing reporters in Iowa, the Democratic presidential candidate pleaded for the State Department to speed up its review of the emails, saying they should be publicly released as soon as possible.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do,” Clinton said Tuesday after a campaign event at a bicycle shop in Cedar Falls.

“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.”

Chances of a swift resolution appear to be slipping by the day.

Federal officials are sifting through more than 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton handed over earlier this year after disclosing her use of a private account while serving as secretary of State.

Facing a lawsuit from Vice News, State proposed setting a target of Jan. 15 for releasing redacted versions of the emails. That would be an inconvenient time for Clinton, just before the Iowa caucuses, which she hopes will start her march to the Democratic nomination.

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected State’s target date, instead ordering the department to begin releasing the emails on a rolling basis.

The judge’s order added to the uncertainty about State’s review timeline, and raised the likelihood that multiple batches of emails will be released to the media in the months ahead — likely keeping the email controversy firmly in the headlines.

The court order also gives fresh ammunition to congressional Republicans, who say they cannot call Clinton to testify on the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, until they are assured that they have all the relevant documents from the State Department.

“We’re very interested in every email,” said Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, one of seven Republicans on the Benghazi panel.

Another panel member, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), said, “In a general sense, the more information you have … that helps you get to the truth when it’s time to go have a hearing and ask questions.

“I’m open to anything that helps us get to the truth. Obviously, the power that the legislative branch has is the power of the purse, and so we’ll see,” Jordan added.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of stonewalling their investigation into the emails, and have floated the possibility of withholding funding from parts of the State Department to compel compliance.

Clinton on Tuesday expressed confidence that the emails — including the 900 on Benghazi that are slated to be released first — will reflect positively on her tenure.

“I think it will show how hard we worked and what we did for our country during the time that I was secretary of State, where I worked extremely hard on behalf of our values,” she said.

But it’s also clear that Clinton and her allies are eager to turn the page on the email controversy, which has begun to weigh down her poll numbers, particularly on the question of trustworthiness.

The call for releasing the emails also came against the backdrop of tensions with reporters, who had been following Clinton to early primary states for more than three weeks without the chance to ask a question.

Fox News’s Ed Henry interrupted Clinton’s event in Cedar Falls to ask whether she might speak to the press, drawing a pointed response from the candidate.

“Maybe when I finish talking to the people here. How’s that?” she replied to applause.

“I might, I’ll have to ponder it, but I’ll put it on my list for due consideration,” she added while pretending to write on a piece of paper.

On her next campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton abruptly broke her media silence during a quick five-minute Q&A where she answered questions about her personal wealth, her family foundation and a former aide who will likely be subpoenaed to talk about his advice before the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.

Pressed by a reporter on whether she would demand that State release her emails, Clinton reiterated her desire for the agency to do so — “I want them out as soon as they can get out” — but acknowledged that the process is now out of her hands.

“[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.”

Martin Matishak and Scott Wong contributed.