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Hillary Clinton's 15,000 New Emails to Get Timetable for Release
The dispute over Hillary Clinton's email practices now threatens to shadow her for the rest of the presidential campaign after the disclosure on Monday that the F.B.I. collected nearly 15,000 new emails in its investigation of her and a federal judge's order that the State Department accelerate the documents' release.
As a result, thousands of emails that Mrs. Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year could be released just weeks before the election in November. The order, by Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court, came the same day a conservative watchdog group separately released hundreds of emails from one of Mrs. Clinton's closest aides, Huma Abedin, which put a new focus on the sometimes awkward ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.
The F.B.I. discovered the roughly 14,900 emails by scouring Mrs. Clinton's server and the computer archives of government officials with whom she corresponded. In late July, it turned them over to the State Department, which now must set a timetable for their release, according to Judge Boasberg's order.
While the emails were not in the original trove of 55,000 pages that Mrs. Clinton's lawyers handed to the State Department last year, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said in July that he did not believe they had been "intentionally deleted." Still, he characterized Mrs. Clinton's handling of classified information during her years at the State Department as "extremely careless."
Under the likely timetable, the soonest the new emails would be released is October. The State Department released the original emails in monthly installments over nearly a year, through February, though it missed several court-ordered deadlines as its staff and other agencies scrutinized the documents for classified information.
Despite Mr. Comey's conclusion that Mrs. Clinton mishandled classified information, he said last month that the F.B.I. would not recommend criminal charges against her, which finally seemed to ease the threat that her handling of emails has posed to her presidential campaign. But the prospect of further disclosures from Mrs. Clinton's emails suggests that the issue will not be put to rest so easily.
"Hillary Clinton seems incapable of telling the truth," the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, said in a statement. "The process for reviewing these emails needs to be expedited, public disclosure should begin before early voting starts, and the emails in question should be released in full before Election Day."
The Clinton campaign said Mrs. Clinton had turned over all the work-related emails she had in her possession in 2014 to the State Department. "We are not sure what additional materials the Justice Department may have located," said the campaign's spokesman, Brian Fallon. "But if the State Department determines any of them to be work-related, then obviously we support those documents being released publicly as well."
A State Department spokesman, Mark C. Toner, said it would have to review the documents to determine which were personal or work-related, and whether any duplicated emails had already been released in response to lawsuits brought by the conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, under the Freedom of Information Act.
The group said that the 725 pages of documents it released Monday demonstrated efforts by the Clinton family foundation to leverage its influence with Mrs. Clinton. The emails, drawn from Ms. Abedin, included an appeal by Douglas Band, a Clinton Foundation executive, for Mrs. Clinton to meet with Bahrain's crown prince, whose family had contributed millions of dollars to the foundation.
"Good friend of ours," Mr. Band wrote.
Ms. Abedin, after expressing Mrs. Clinton's reluctance to schedule a meeting "until she knows how she will feel," then wrote back to Mr. Band to offer the crown prince an appointment the next morning. She encouraged Mr. Band to let the prince know, "if you see him," though she said the State Department had also contacted him through official channels.
But Ms. Abedin expressed qualms when Mr. Band appealed to her to help arrange an interview in the British Embassy to get a visa for a member of the Wolverhampton Football Club, who had a criminal charge against him. Mr. Band was helping Casey Wasserman, a sports marketing executive who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. Mr. Wasserman is a co-chairman of a fund-raiser Mrs. Clinton will attend this week in Beverly Hills, Calif.
"I get this now, makes me nervous to get involved but I'll ask," Ms. Abedin wrote.
"Then don't," Mr. Band replied.
Judicial Watch's president, Tom Fitton, said the emails included 20 exchanges with Mrs. Clinton herself that were not among those her lawyers turned over to the State Department. The emails, he said, showed how Ms. Abedin served as a conduit between the department and the Clinton Foundation, citing the exchange over the crown prince's meeting.
"It is hard to tell where the State Department ended and where the Clinton Foundation began," he said. "They were working hand in glove."
Under the process set by Judge Boasberg on Monday, the State Department will review the new emails and documents and present the court with a schedule for releasing them. Mr. Fitton said that process could begin in October, or could be delayed as the department reviews which are personal and which are work-related.
"The question is how many of those are truly personal," he said.
Separately, a prominent House Republican pressed the F.B.I. on Monday to explain why it had redacted emails and summaries of its interview with Mrs. Clinton, which it turned over to Congress last week.
Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in an interview that nearly half the material was redacted, including "a lot of redactions for things that aren't warranted." He also said there were inconsistencies in the two copies of the documents that the F.B.I. submitted to Congress.
In a letter to Mr. Comey on Monday, Mr. Chaffetz demanded that the F.B.I. explain its legal basis for the redactions and why the two copies were inconsistent. He said the F.B.I. should submit an unclassified version of its report, which presumably could be made public.
[Source: By Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers, International New York Times, Washington, 22Aug16]
Privacy and counterintelligence
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