By: Kristina Wong
Officials from the State and Justice Departments argue a hiring freeze and lack of public interest are responsible for its inability to process and release the 100,000 Hillary Clinton emails as ordered under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, according to a report.
A U.S. official familiar with the case told Circa “there are still holdovers” within the State and Justice Departments who don’t want to see the emails released, and are slow-rolling the process. But the report also said the president’s own Justice Department attorneys are citing “diminished public interest” in the emails, and that the president should demand the agencies abide.
According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, the FBI turned over to the State Department a new disk of emails belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were discovered on a laptop owned by her husband, Anthony Weiner.
State and Justice Department lawyers say they can’t release them until they judge whether they are personal or government, and can be shared publicly. Fitton said there are apparently 7,000 emails on the laptop.
State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala told Circa that the Department “takes its records management responsibilities seriously and is working diligently to process FOIA requests and to balance the demands of the many requests we have received.”
“We are devoting significant resources to meeting our litigation obligations,” she said.
Fitton argued they are moving too slowly. The State Department was ordered in November to process 500 pages per month, but he said it would take until 2020 for the bulk to be made public.
“President Trump needs to direct his agencies to follow the the law but right now they are making a mockery of it by saying they won’t finish releasing it until 2020,” he said.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released 448 pages of documents the State Department did turn over from Abedin last week. The group said the emails describe preferential treatment “to major donors to the Clinton Foundation and political campaigns.”
“The documents included six Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 439 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, ‘as far as she knew,’ all of her government emails had been turned over to the State Department,” the group said in a July 14 press release.