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Initial State Dept. review found months-long gap in Clinton emails
An initial State Department review concluded that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not send a single work-related email through her personal account for roughly four months during her tenure, though the government claims it has since filled in the gaps.
A timeline of Clinton's email "gaps" circulated internally among State Department officials this year shows that Clinton did not send or receive a single email on the personal account for a month and a half after being sworn in as the nation's top diplomat in 2009.
After receiving her first email through her private email address in March of that year, she waited nearly another month before sending anything out, the timeline shows.
Then at the end of her time at the department, Clinton went for another month without sending a single email.
The State Department quickly pushed back on the newly unveiled timeline, which it said was based off an initial oversight.
The only "gap" in Clinton's email records, according to State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach, is the one from Clinton's early days as secretary, when she received emails through a previously revealed second email address that was a holdover from her time as a senator. Emails from the end of her time in office have been recovered and will be made public in coming months.
"Upon review, the department has many messages sent by Secretary Clinton during that period, including messages that appear to have been produced directly from her 'sent' mailbox," Gerlach said in a statement.
Still, to conservative critics of the Democratic presidential front-runner, the initial reported gaps in email usage reek of impropriety, and suggest that Clinton has hid some records from the government.
"The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have taken their cover-up of the email scandal too far," Tom Fitton, the president of conservative legal group Judicial Watch, said in a statement. "I suspect that federal courts will want more information, under oath, about the issues raised in these incredible documents."
Judicial Watch revealed the draft timeline on Monday as part of documents it received through one of multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Obama administration seeking to obtain Clinton's emails.
"Judicial Watch's discovery of the Clinton email 'gap' may take a place in history next to the discovery of the Nixon tapes," Fitton claimed.
The extra scrutiny builds on the mounting pressure facing Clinton over her use of a private email account based on her personal server throughout her time as secretary of State. The campaign has failed to scuttle questions about the behavior, and the ongoing drama of the emails - which are being debated on Capitol Hill and in courtrooms as well as on the campaign trail - has become a serious drag on her presidential campaign.
Clinton claimed to have destroyed roughly half of the emails she sent and received through the private email account, which she claimed were personal and did not belong in the government's hands. There are indications, however, that technicians still might be able to recover some of those messages.
Last week, the Justice Department claimed that Clinton did not do anything wrong by setting up her own email system.
Clinton entered her office at the State Department on Jan. 21, 2009, but received the first email on her personal "clintonemail.com" account 56 days later. That message came late in the evening of March 18 of that year from aide Miguel Rodriguez - who is now a lawyer for Clinton's longtime advisor, Huma Abedin.
She did not send an email for another month, until an April 13 message to longtime aide Cheryl Mills.
The final email Clinton sent while in office, according to the initial timeline, was sent on Dec. 30 of 2012. It was also directed to Mills. Clinton would not step down until Feb. 1, 2013, more than a month later.
In all, Clinton did not send an email through her "clintonemail.com" account for a total of 114 days bookending her tenure, according to the State Department's initial analysis, which it is now refuting.
The timeline was contained in a heavily redacted April 21 email sent by State Department official Eric Stein that identified the "gaps" between the time when Clinton entered office and received and sent her first and final emails.
This story was updated at 2:30 p.m.