(WASHINGTON) — The State Department confirmed Tuesday that it will release thousands of additional emails the FBI managed to uncover as part of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email — documents that the former secretary of state and her attorneys did not turn over in December of 2014 with the rest of her work-related email.
The decision by the State Department to release these previously unseen emails is connected to a pre-existing freedom of information lawsuit brought by the conservative group, Judicial Watch. However, State Department spokesman Mark Toner says the agency is producing them “voluntarily.”
In July, at the same press conference, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not be recommending criminal charges against Clinton. He said investigators found “several thousand work-related emails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014.”
Clinton was fiercely criticized by her political opponents after the remarks because they directly contradicted her previous assertion that she had provided all her official email.
“We found those additional emails in a variety of ways,” Comey explained in July. “Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton…still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of e-mail fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.”
Three of these several thousand emails were classified at the time they were sent or received, Comey said.
The State Department has not said when or how it will release these new emails.
In a press release Tuesday, Judicial Watch said it would be receiving the documents directly, but that’s not necessarily clear.
Toner told reporters Tuesday that lawyers for the State Department will propose a release schedule in court on Monday, Aug. 22. Officials at the State Department said the time frame and manner in which the emails will be released depends on the court’s orders.
In the past, the State Department produced the massive trove of Clinton’s emails in batches over a course of several months.
It’s very likely the judge in this case could order the emails to be produced before the election, given their relevance and the level of public interest in the matter.
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