State Dept. releases largest batch of Clinton emails

The State Department on Friday released more than 7,000 pages of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump to lay out first 100 days in Gettysburg speech GOP senator: Dems making ‘concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes’ Trump touts Navy expansion proposal in Pa. MORE's emails, in the first tranche since her 11-hour, closely scrutinized testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last week.

The document dump is the sixth of its kind this year, following a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act that will force roughly 30,000 of Clinton’s emails into the light by late January.

It is the largest single release of Clinton’s emails, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Friday. As of Friday, 51 percent of the emails that Clinton has identified as work-related have now been released to the public.

Between 200 and 300 have been classified as “confidential,” Kirby added, which is the lowest level of government classification.

As it has maintained in the past, however, the State Department insisted that the information in those emails became classified after it was originally sent.

“No emails were marked classified at the time they were sent or received, from our analysis of this tranche,” Kirby told reporters Friday, echoing a common refrain of Clinton’s about information contained within the emails.

The new emails mostly date from 2011 and 2012.

Among other things, the messages show that Clinton and her top staffers kept tabs on the Republican race for the presidential nomination in 2012. Clinton was made aware of exit polling following the New Hampshire primary, and staffers criticized the candidates’ remarks during debates. 

“They (all of the candidates) are on a tear about getting ride [sic] of foreign aid and cutting our foreign affairs budget. All of them - with an approving audience,” longtime aide Cheryl Mills bemoaned to Clinton in October of 2011.

“Yes. Happening now on a CNN station near you,” she added.

The emails also detail Clinton’s efforts to response to the wave of democracy movements known as the “Arab Spring,” as well as her historic trip to Myanmar and other foreign policy fights.

The email issue has been a nagging one for Clinton, who has had to suffer with lingering allegations that her decision to exclusively use a private email setup while serving as secretary of State amounted to a deliberate attempt to evade public scrutiny.  

Republicans have leapt on the issue, both on the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill.

During the marathon testimony to the Benghazi Committee last week, GOP lawmakers accused her of “changing your story” to obfuscate the truth.

“If your story about your emails keeps changing, then how can we accept your statement that you've turned over all work related emails and all emails about Libya?” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked during the Oct. 22 hearing.

In response, Clinton insisted that she has taken “responsibility for my use of personal email.”

“I've said it was a mistake,” she said at the hearing. “I've said that it was allowed, but it was not a good choice.”

During the same hearing, Clinton also insisted that “most of” her work at the State Department “was not done on emails.”

Despite the criticism from Republicans, the fallout from Clinton’s emails appears to have done her little damage among fellow Democrats.

During the first Democratic presidential debate this month, Clinton’s chief rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the front-runner that the country was “sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

This story was updated at 5 p.m.