Get ready to start reading about Chelsea’s wedding — or perhaps much more. During the FBI investigation into potential criminal violations in the use of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail, it became apparent that agents had recovered some of the e-mails. Today, State Department attorneys told a federal judge overseeing FOIA actions that the FBI recovered almost 15,000 messages — about half again as many as Hillary submitted to State, and slightly under half of those deleted. And it looks like State is implicitly acknowledging that many of these are not personal at all:
The FBI has uncovered almost 15,000 previously undisclosed documents sent directly to or from Hillary Clinton, State Department lawyers confirmed before a federal judge on Monday.
The documents were found during the course of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal email server as secretary of State. The number is almost 50 percent more than the 30,000 work-related documents that Clinton’s lawyers turned over the State Department in 2014.
The agency has pledged to release the approximately 14,900 documents and State Department lawyers told District Judge James E. Boasberg on Monday that the agency is “prioritizing” the appraisal of the new emails.
When Hillary Clinton finally started to comply with the Federal Records Act after the exposure of her secret e-mail system, she and her legal team deleted more than 30,000 e-mails from the system. They claimed that those were entirely personal messages unrelated to her business at the State Department and not subject to the FRA — even though that would have amounted to 22 personal e-mails a day, every day for the four years of Hillary’s tenure at State, including weekends. After first telling Congress that her legal team reviewed every message, Hillary later admitted that they had instead used keyword searches to determine which messages to delete.
If they find more than a few that require release, it will put yet another big hole in Hillary’s post-exposure narratives. That will be especially true if the deleted e-mails turn out to be related to Benghazi, or to the Clinton Foundation.
The Hill describes the two-stage process State will use to determine whether and how much to release. Step one involves separating the personal from the business, and step two determines whether the remaining records fall within the FRA and/or are material to FOIA requests. Don’t expect to see much about Chelsea’s wedding, in other words, unless it mixed in with other business. That’s likely to be true of Clinton Foundation e-mails too, as long as they didn’t involve State Department business.
However, that line might be very tough to draw. Judicial Watch, whose FOIA lawsuit drove this disclosure today, notes in a press release from earlier in the day that Huma Abedin put a lot of effort into getting big Clinton Foundation donors some face time with Hillary:
Judicial Watch today released 725 pages of new State Department documents, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.
The new documents included 20 Hillary Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to 191 of new Clinton emails (not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department). These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.
The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin. In Abedin’s June deposition to Judicial Watch, she conceded that part of her job at the State Department was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”
Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours. According to the Clinton Foundation website, in 2005, Salman committed to establishing the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And by 2010, it had contributed $32 million to CGI. The Kingdom of Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Petroleum also gave an additional $25,000 to $50,000.
At the very least, it shows that Hillary Clinton turned the State Department into a customer-service shop for Clinton Foundation donors. If the deleted e-mails turn up anything approaching explicit quid pro quo arrangements, then Hillary will have a lot more questions to answer. And for that matter, so will James Comey and Loretta Lynch.