Nearly 70 pages of documents were potentially relevant to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's hiring of longtime aide Huma Abedin, but the State Department has only released seven pages containing only five emails, two of which are partially censored. The Associated Press had initially asked the State Department to release the documents.
John Hackett, director of information programs and services at the State Department, told the AP that a search of the Central Policy Records and Office of Public Affairs "did not result in the retrieval of responsive material," but didn't further explain why. Hackett said that a search was ongoing in other agency offices.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon gave the State Department 60 days to produce the documents in August, noting that the correspondence was "estimated to be approximately 68 pages in total." The State Department said in July that it would have to review some 22,000 pages of documents in connection with the AP's request.
Officials combing through Clinton's emails have struggled to keep up with the strict timeline set by another federal judge, a result of the AP suing the State Department over access to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. It has even named a new email czar to assist at least five other officials devoted to carrying out the request.
But that political appointment is now stirring its own criticisms after it was revealed that the email czar donated nearly $3,000 to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in June. Asked about a potential conflict of interest on Thursday, State Department spokesman John Kirby downplayed those criticisms.
"We understand how some people might have that perception," Kirby said. "Ambassador [Janice] Jacobs was chosen for her exemplary service, particularly in this kind of area, and the secretary [John Kerry] is 100 percent convinced that she's the right person for the job.
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