Yesterday the reporter whose case has forced the release of Hillary Clinton’s emails has accused the Obama administration of political tampering by asking to delay making the final set of messages public until after the first four states have already voted in the Democratic presidential primary. Another 11 states are slated to vote on March 1, just hours after the State Department has said that it wants to release the final 4,000 emails, which could include some of the most controversial messages. This means that almost 45 million voters won’t have enough time to digest the emails before they have to vote.
Judge Rudolph Contreras hasn’t yet ruled on the State Department’s request made just ahead of DC’s major snowstorm asking for a one-month delay from the original deadline of January 29. The State Department blamed both the snowstorm and its own “oversight” in not sending out thousands of pages of emails to other agencies for their review. This is the department’s third major bungle, which has had to be prodded by Congress, the courts and the department’s own inspector general throughout the process.
Clinton’s emails were kept on a server maintained at her home in New York as opposed to the State Department’s official accounts. She only returned the messages to the department in late 2015, nearly two years after she left office as Secretary of State. Sued for access under open records laws, State Department officials had asked to deliver all of the messages later this year, although Judge Contreras rejected that proposal, ordering monthly releases. Such releases have proven an issue for Hillary, with 5 percent of them containing information that’s now classified. Auditors say that several of the messages contain information that should be classified above the top-secret level.
Several federal judges have been pressuring the State Department on its slow pace, and this delay could have a major impact on primary voters, who are wondering more and more if Clinton could face legal troubles that could get in the way of her becoming President. Under the original schedule, the final emails were to be released this Friday, just before Iowa voters hold caucuses. A week later voters in New hampshire go to the polls, followed by Nevada and South Carolina. The State Department’s new schedule would push the full email release until after all of those states have voted, and mere hours before 11 other states and American Samoa hold primaries.
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