So much for 2016 … perhaps in more ways than one. The State Department proposed a release date for Hillary Clinton’s emails as Secretary of State — the emails she actually produced — of January 15, 2016 to comply with long-delayed FOIA requests. Perhaps not coincidentally, that date would have come days ahead of the Iowa caucuses, far too late for those voters to consider their contents. The reason they wanted to wait another seven months, State told the federal judge overseeing the demands, is that they wanted to release them all at once.
Today, the court said ixnay to the ocumentday umpday:
A federal judge on Tuesday instructed the State Department to release former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails on a rolling basis rather than all at once after they have been cleared.
At a court hearing on Tuesday, federal District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras instructed the State Department to come up with a new schedule for the release of the email archive, which has become the target of multiple lawsuits seeking their release. …
The judge also ordered the State Department to say when a separate trove of emails related to the 2012 Benghazi attack would be released. Those emails were reviewed first as part of a congressional probe into the terrorist attack on an American diplomatic facility in Libya and are expected in the coming weeks.
The State Department said it would comply with the court order to provide a plan for the release of Mrs. Clinton’s emails as well as a deadline for when it would release emails related to the Benghazi attacks.
Jason Leopold of Vice News, one of the plaintiffs demanding the e-mails, reports that the court has ordered a new schedule of release to be submitted no later than a week from today:
According to the judicial order, the State Department “shall file a notice to the Court on or before May 26, 2015, that includes the following: (1) a new production schedule for the Secretary Clinton e-mails that accounts for rolling production and updates from counsel every 60 days, (2) a proposed deadline for production of the Secretary Clinton e-mails relating to Benghazi, and (3) a proposed order that encapsulates the parties’ agreement on the narrowing of [VICE News’] request concerning searches for [documents] beyond the Secretary Clinton e-mails.”
This means that the emails will be made available to VICE News and other news organizations and groups that sued the State Department for the records before they are released to the public.
Not by much, presumably; the media outlets will race to publication once they have access to ensure the timeliest clickability. The searchable database for the records will be set up by the middle of next month, which means we should start seeing the first tranches of data by the time summer begins.
That will mean questions much earlier in the cycle for Hillary Clinton, who just deigned to answer a few earlier today. That’s bad news for her, but could be good news for Democrats. The early release will at least theoretically give them more time to find an alternate candidate in case a smoking gun emerges from the e-mail release, although as Jazz remarked earlier, these are the e-mails that Hillary’s team pre-vetted and allowed State to acquire. If it took until mid-January for a smoking gun to emerge, it would leave the Democrats with nothing but a brokered convention standing between them and utter humiliation.
Meanwhile, count National Journal’s Ron Fournier among the unimpressed with Hillary’s performance earlier today. She finally provided a couple of answers to reporters’ questions, but Fournier doesn’t believe Hillary any longer:
I don’t believe her because I saw how hard Clinton and her husband, then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, worked to pass the state’s first sweeping ethics initiative. I don’t believe her because I’ve heard Clinton and her husband rail against GOP politicians who were guilty of less-obvious conflicts of interest. I don’t believe her because there have been far too many credible news reports about the blurring of lines between family finances, the family foundation, and her political and government interests.
I believe the public has a right to know whether any of the deleted email involved correspondence about the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation or its donors. I believe she’s getting bad advice: The hide-and-attack tactics of the 1990s won’t work as well – if at all – in a post-internet era that honors transparency, authenticity, and accountability.
I believe she wants us to take her at her word, but we can’t – not even those people like me who’ve known the Clintons long enough to respect their service and appreciate their many virtues. It hurts to witness the self-inflicted wounds and hemorrhaging of her credibility. But this is no time for sentimentality.
Blind faith doesn’t get you elected president.
Perhaps … but it’s probably the only thing that will get Democrats to nominate her for the job.