FOIA deal could speed release of Clinton emails

FOIA deal could speed release of Clinton emails

Vice News journalist Jason Leopold is pushing for more of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE’s unreleased emails to be made public prior to the Nov. 8 election, in one of many Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits centered on the emails.

Lawyers for Leopold and the State Department are engaged in negotiations, deadlined Wednesday, that could result in a production almost three times larger than what is currently ordered.

ADVERTISEMENT
A federal judge on Friday ordered the State Department to review approximately 1,000 pages of emails before the Nov. 8 elections, releasing those that are responsive to a FOIA request from the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

But in a court hearing in a separate FOIA case concerning the same emails on Monday, Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered the State Department and Leopold to reach a potentially larger compromise on the number of pages to be reviewed.

Leopold is asking for an additional production based on the review of 2,200 further pages by Nov. 8, on top of the 1,050 pages ordered by Judge James Boasberg on Friday.

The journalist has offered to allow the agency to reallocate resources currently employed on different documents he’s due through the suit to the review of the unreleased emails.

At issue are the 15,000 previously undisclosed emails uncovered by the FBI during its investigation into Clinton’s private server.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, deleted about 30,000 emails from the private server setup she used while serving as secretary of State, saying they were not work-related, before turning over thousands more to the government.

But while examining her machines, the FBI recovered some additional emails that could be relevant to various FOIA lawsuits centered on Clinton’s emails.

According to State Department lawyers Friday, only about 37 percent of the new emails — or 5,600 documents — were deemed work-related, but of those, a “substantial number” were duplicates of the 30,000 that Clinton turned over to the agency in December 2014.

State Department lawyers are unsure how many messages will actually be responsive. 

In yet another Monday hearing involving the 5,600 emails — this one between Leopold and the FBI directly — Judge Randolph Morris duplicated the Boasberg order but put off ordering any further production until after negotiations between State and Leopold are completed.

Government lawyers were careful not to oversell the potential agreement.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as a potential agreement,” FBI lawyers said. “I would say that it is under consideration [by the State Department].”