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State Dept will release batches of Clinton emails, most post-election

The FBI released another cache of Hillary Clinton documents late Friday afternoon -- the summaries of interviews conducted in the course of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The interviews in this release include Bryan Pagliano, the State Department contractor who set up Clinton’s server, some of Clinton’s top aides, including Cheryl Mills, and computer consultants from Platte River Networks, which maintained the server. Much of the material had already been referenced in a congressional hearing earlier this month

On the same day, a federal judge ruled on the State Department’s production schedule for previously undisclosed work-related emails uncovered by the FBI during its probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server while Secretary of State. Those documents will be released incrementally by the State Department to the public--the majority of them after Election Day, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Friday morning. 

Judge James Boasberg ordered the State Department to process nearly 1,050 pages of emails by early November. Excluding duplicates, they are expected to be released in three batches, on October 7th, October 21st and November 4th. The judge said it was “unrealistic” to review the 5,600 messages in the next six weeks--a task sought by the conservative watchdog group that had initially filed the lawsuit to obtain the former secretary of state’s records.

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“I think we all need to bear in mind the State Department has other duties beyond FOIA requests,” said Judge Boasberg. “I know the State Department has been working very hard.....The court can’t jump to the head of the queue.”

This led Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton to lambast the judge’s decision, saying “the American people could be deprived of this information at this essential time.” He went as so far as to describe the State Department’s handling of Clinton’s emails as an “absolutely corrupt process.”

Since 2014, State Department has processed nearly 54,000 pages of email records involving Mrs. Clinton at a rate of about 7,000 per month-- significantly faster pace than what Judge Boasberg ordered in Friday’s hearing. A Justice Department lawyer acknowledged this, but said the State Department no longer has the manpower it did when it appraised the first batch in 2015.

“Many of those folks have returned to their regular duties,” Marcia Berman said. “There’s been a lot of attrition. It’s a very difficult and demanding job these days....and not a lot of fun.”

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.