State Dept. turns up thousands of emails from top Clinton aide

State Department officials have uncovered thousands of emails between Philippe Reines, a top Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHannity attacks NY Times after report says he advises Trump Clinton to science demonstrators: 'March on!' NYT: Lynch didn't want Comey to notify Congress on Clinton emails MORE aide, and members of the media, they previously said did not exist.

In a court filing last Thursday, the State Department estimated that a recent search turned up more than 81,000 emails from Reines’s official account while at the State Department. And 17,855 potentially fall within a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Gawker earlier this year.

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That is a reversal from 2013, when the State Department said a thorough search turned up no responsive records for Gawker’s request. In 2012, Gawker requested all emails between Reines and reporters from 34 media outlets.

The State Department did not explain the reversal in the court document, nor did it return a request for comment.

It will begin releasing a tranche of Reines's emails by the end of September.

After it was revealed earlier this year that Clinton, and potentially some of her aides, used personal email accounts for official business, Gawker sued the State Department over its initial request for communications between Reines and reporters.

Gawker asserted the search must not have been exhaustive if it turned up no emails between the press and a State Department spokesman, who regularly communicated with the media.

In March, Reines said reporters would have to ask the State Department about the apparent discrepancy.

In last week’s court filing, the State Department estimated it would begin releasing some of those emails that do not fall within an exemption on Sept. 30. It will release more every 30 days as they are reviewed.

The agency said it does not know how many of the 17,855 are exempt from disclosure and will have to be redacted or handed over to other agencies for redaction. It said it is willing to negotiate with Gawker to narrow the scope of the request.

The emails at issue from Reines’s official State Department account are separate from the 20 boxes of emails from his personal account that he handed over to the State Department last month, related to the controversy about Clinton’s use of a private email account and server.

The State Department said it will focus on scanning those boxes of documents into its system and provide another update in September. It said many of those emails from Reines’s personal account appear to be press clippings, which will be left out of the review.