WASHINGTON (CN) – A State Department attorney revealed Thursday that the agency still has 40,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails to process in relation to a 2015 Freedom of Information Act request from conservative watchdog Judicial Watch.
The emails in question were recovered by the FBI during its investigation of Clinton’s use of a private server, which the agency turned over to the State Department on seven discs. Judicial Watch, which has asked for all of Clinton’s emails during her tenure as secretary of state, asked the court Thursday morning during a status conference to speed up its processing of the emails on those discs.
Lauren Burke, who argued on behalf of Judicial Watch Thursday, asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to require the State Department to double the number of pages of Clinton’s emails that it processes on a monthly basis from 500 to 1,000.
But Burke said she was surprised at how much the State Department said it has left to process.
“I was a little bit taken aback to realize there remains 40,000,” she said in an interview after the conference. “That’s the first time we have heard that number.”
Jennie Kneedler, a Justice Department attorney, told U.S. District Judge James Boasberg that the State Department was adding more resources to handle the Freedom of Information Act requests associated with the Clinton emails.
A State Department spokesperson declined to provide specifics about the increase in resources but offered the following comment in an email: “The Department is currently exploring options to increase its FOIA processing capabilities and will make every effort to process documents in this case at a faster rate if possible.”
Burke also asked the court to require the State Department to identify any records from the seven FBI discs that it intends to withhold, and why, on a more regular basis.
Boasberg had ordered that on completion of each of the discs, Burke said, but the State Department has yet to fully process any of the discs in full.
Burke said she wants to hold the Trump administration’s feet to the fire on the issue.
“We have a responsibility and the American people have a right to see what the FBI investigated, what potentially was not released or produced by Hillary herself,” Burke said.
Boasberg ordered the State Department to explain by Nov. 30 how the increase of resources will affect the processing of records in the case, and when it expects to complete processing of each of the FBI discs.