Sarah Westwood — Washington Examiner August 30, 2016
State Department attorneys said Tuesday the agency had discovered 30 Benghazi-related emails among the records recovered from Hillary Clinton’s private server.
A judge asked the agency to hasten its review of the documents in preparation for release to Judicial Watch, the conservative-leaning group that filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The emails were included among the roughly 15,000 emails FBI agents said they pulled from Clinton’s server in the course of a year-long probe.
Others were deleted beyond recovery after the Democratic nominee’s team used a digital tool called BleachBit to scrub the hardware that was eventually confiscated by law enforcement agents.
Agency lawyers said during the hearing Tuesday before Judge Amit Mehta of U.S. District Court that they had not yet determined how many of the Benghazi-related emails had already been disclosed in the batch of 55,000 pages of emails Clinton turned over in late 2014.
Judicial Watch attorneys had asked the State Department to examine the deleted records in order to determine whether any fell under to its FOIA request for emails that mentioned Benghazi.
The discovery of 30 such emails is significant because Clinton has repeatedly assured the public, Congress and FBI agents that she turned over all work-related communications in late 2014.
State finds 30 Benghazi-related "deleted" Clinton emails, wants 30 days to turn them over. Court demurs and suggests they move quicker.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 30, 2016
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, noted on Tuesday that the State Department had asked for 30 days to review the new records before releasing them to the group.
The lawsuit is one of several filed by Judicial Watch in pursuit of records related to Clinton’s tenure.
In a separate case, the group sent Clinton 25 written questions about her decision to set up a private email network. Her responses, which she must submit within 30 days, will be considered sworn testimony by the court.
It is unclear how many emails were deleted beyond recovery by Clinton’s team when they applied BleachBit to her server system. She claimed during a press conference in March 2015 that she “chose not to keep” roughly 30,000 emails she had deemed personal in nature.
But FBI Director James Comey said last month that his agents had pulled thousands of work-related records from the server, raising questions about how she determined which records to disclose and which to delete.