On Tuesday afternoon, the State Department announced they will release all of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails the FBI recovered from her private server to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. Making matters worse for the Clinton campaign, the FBI also turned over secret documents from their investigation, including notes from the interview with the Democratic nominee, to Republican lawmakers that could potentially be released to the public.
“The American people will now see more of the emails Hillary Clinton tried to hide from them,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Simply put, our lawsuits have unraveled Hillary Clinton’s email cover-up.”
The Hill confirmed the State Department will release all work-related emails recovered by the FBI. The State Department declined to announce exactly when this will happen, but a court conference to discuss the timeline is scheduled for Aug. 22. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus demanded the release of all emails before the November election.
“Anything less than a full release of these public records before voting begins will only further prove that we have a rigged system that has one set of rules political elites and another for everyone else,” Priebus said.
Judicial Watch said in a statement released on Tuesday the State Department agreed to release the recovered emails as a response to their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“Clinton has repeatedly stated that she believes that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order, she declared under penalty of perjury that she had ‘directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.’ This acknowledgment by the State Department is also at odds with her official campaign statement suggesting all ‘work or potentially work-related emails’ were provided to the State Department.”
Last month, FBI Director James Comey declined to recommend criminal charges in the department’s investigation into Clinton’s email use, and Republican lawmakers responded by demanding to see any recordings or documents related to the investigation. Comey appeared at a Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill after his decision where he promised to release what he could to lawmakers. On Tuesday, the FBI lived up to Comey’s word.
NPR reports the FBI did not record their three-hour interview with the presidential candidate nor did they make a word-for-word transcript of the conversation. The FBI did take down written notes, which were included in the documents turned over to Republican officials. A spokeswoman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the materials were received on Tuesday afternoon.
“Committee staff is currently reviewing the information that is classified secret,” the spokeswoman said. “There are no further details at this time.”
Inside the documents turned over to Congressional members includes a summary of the FBI’s entire investigation and unreleased classified emails discovered on Clinton’s server. The Washington Post reports FBI spokeswoman Carol Cratty said the materials will only be released to the public if the agency agrees it’s necessary.
“The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed,” she said.
Democratic House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff from California released a statement saying the FBI’s decision to release this information sets a dangerous precedent.
“This will neither serve the interests of justice nor aid Congress in its responsibilities and will merely set a precedent for the FBI to turn over closed case files whenever one party in Congress does not like a prosecutorial decision,” Schiff said. “This has been done in the name of transparency, but as this precedent chills the cooperation of other witnesses in the future, I suspect the Department of Justice will later come to refer to it by a different name – mistake.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon responded to the release calling it a mistake.
“We believe that if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks,” Fallon said.
Pressure has been growing on the Clinton campaign after Judicial Watch released documents last week depicting what many news outlets reported as a possible conflict of interest between the Clinton Foundation and actions taken by the State Department during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. The Washington Post editorial board said the most troubling part from the latest batch of newly released emails was the exchange between the head of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009 requesting that Clinton’s top aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, orchestrate a meeting between a top Clinton donor and a senior State Department official.
“It certainly is not enough to launch a criminal investigation. As political scandals go, this is middling, at best,” the editorial board writes. “But it suggests that some donors to the Clinton Foundation may have seen their gifts as means to buy access — and it points to much bigger potential problems.”
It’s possible that Clinton’s biggest potential is about to be unveiled. Outside the closed doors on Capitol Hill, no one knows what’s in the secret documents that were handed over to Republicans — yet. But the world will soon find out what was in the deleted emails recovered from Clinton’s private email server, and if her lack of transparency in the past is any indicator, they were probably deleted for a reason.
[Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images]