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Judge orders speedy release of newly discovered Clinton emails

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has uncovered nearly 15,000 new emails to or from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton when she served as secretary of state, and a federal judge has ordered a speedy release of the emails.

Lawyers for the State Department suggested to begin the release of the emails by Oct. 14. However, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg of Washington rejected the proposal, ordering the State Department to prioritize Clinton's emails and to return to court on Sept. 22 with a new plan.

As a result, thousands of emails that Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year could be released just weeks before the election in November.

Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, which filed the lawsuit in May 2015 after disclosures that Clinton had exclusively used a personal email server based at her home when she worked with the State Department, welcomed the judge's decision.

"We're pleased the court accelerated the State Department's timing," said Fitton, accusing the State Department of having slow-walked and stonewalled the release of those records.

"They've had many of them since July 25 ... and not one record has yet been released, and we don't understand why that's the case," he said.

Judicial Watch has been seeking all emails sent or received by Clinton at the State Department in a request made under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The amount of the newly uncovered emails is almost half of the roughly 30,000 work-related documents that Clinton's lawyers turned over to the State Department in 2014.

The State Department previously agreed voluntarily to hand over emails to or from Clinton in her official capacity as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

After a yearlong probe, the Justice Department closed a criminal probe in July with no charges into the handling of classified material in Clinton's email setup, which FBI Director James B. Comey reproached "extremely careless."

Separately, Judicial Watch also released hundreds of pages of emails from one of Clinton's closest aides, Huma Abedin, including some purporting to show that various donors to the Clinton Foundation had lobbied Abedin for access to the former first lady.

The newly released email exchanges appeared to show that a rich donor, Casey Wasserman, asked Bill Clinton aide Doug Band to contact Abedin for help in setting up a meeting with diplomatic officials in London, which put a new focus on the sometimes awkward ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

The Abedin emails are likely to add to concerns raised by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about the conduct of the Clinton Foundation and the access of its donors to Clinton during her tenure at the State Department.

In a statement Monday, Trump called the foundation "the most corrupt enterprise in political history" and called for its immediate shutdown.

Trump accused the Clintons of turning the Clinton Foundation charity into a "pay-for-play" scheme in which wealthy donors, foreign and domestic, got favors from the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as the country's top diplomat.

He also called for a special prosecutor to investigate his Democratic rival, accusing the FBI and the Justice Department of a "whitewash" during their probe of her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

"The amounts involved, the favors done and the significant number of times it was done require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately, immediately," Trump told a rally in Akron, Ohio.

The crowd responded with rowdy chants of "Lock her up! Lock her up!"

"The Justice Department is required to appoint a special prosecutor because it has proved to be, sadly, a political arm of the White House," Trump said. "Nobody has ever seen anything like it before."

Former President Bill Clinton defended the work of his charitable foundation on Monday, telling supporters that it had "improved millions of lives around the world" but needs to change if his wife wins the White House.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 23Aug16]

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