Fate of 15,000 recovered Clinton emails remains hazy

Fate of 15,000 recovered Clinton emails remains hazy
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It remains unclear how many — if any — of the 15,000 previously unreleased emails uncovered by the FBI during its investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to attend World Series Game 4 in Atlanta Pavlich: Democrats' weaponization of the DOJ is back Mellman: The trout in the milk MORE’s private server will be made public by the presidential election.

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A federal judge on Friday ordered the State Department to review approximately 1,000 pages of the documents before the Nov. 8 elections, releasing those that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that is driving their release.

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

Clinton 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 the FOIA lawsuit.

A preliminary review of the 15,000 emails revealed that about 60 percent were of a purely personal nature. Around 37 percent — or 5,600 documents — were deemed work-related, but of those, a “substantial number” were duplicates of the 30,000 emails that Clinton turned over to the agency in December 2014. Those emails have already made public through the FOIA process and would not be re-released.

When pressed, State lawyers later suggested that “almost half” of the work-related emails were duplicates.

It’s also unclear how many pages those 5,600 documents comprise, although State lawyers said that historically, there have been about 1.8 pages per document.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered the agency to review 350 emails and produce what they were able to on Oct. 7, Oct. 21 and Nov. 4. Thereafter, he ordered State to review 500 pages a month, producing as many responsive documents as exist in each batch.

Lawyers for the conservative group that brought the suit, Judicial Watch, pushed for a more expedited release but were ultimately rebuffed by Boasberg.

The emails, Boasberg said, are not “a black box” or a “treasure trove of information that no one’s ever seen.” He noted that the emails had been thoroughly investigated by the FBI .

The FBI turned the documents over to the State Department at the close of the probe, which did not result in charges.

The ruling did not mollify Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, who accused the agency of being “obstructionist.”

“How can anyone think that the State Department is doing anything but doing Mrs. Clinton a favor?” Fitton told reporters, arguing that the agency is withholding information that the voting public has a right to access prior the presidential election. Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

“You can’t trust anything the State Department is doing these days,” he said.