Blaming ‘oversight’ and the blizzard that hit Washington, D.C., the State Department on Friday sought to delay the release of the last batch of 55,000 emails scheduled for Jan. 29. But the journalist who forced the State Department to release them to begin with is having none of it.
Lawyers for Vice News reporter Jason Leopold filed a motion on Monday in an attempt to prevent the Department’s request to extend the deadline until Feb. 29, conveniently after the first four state nominating contests.
The Obama administration “has failed to show good cause for the requested extension, that it is necessary or that the interests of justice will be served by granting it,” Leopold’s lawyers wrote in the 13-page filing.
The government’s excuse for not being able to release the final batch of emails this month “is woefully vague,” the lawyers said. […]
In the filing on Monday, Leopold’s lawyers, Ryan James and Jeffrey Light, wondered whether the final tranche of emails contained “the most controversial records.”
Delaying release of the emails beyond the first four primary states would cause “irrevocable harm” to journalists and voters, they added.
“[I]f the Court allows State to delay release of thousands of pages of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s official work emails, a substantial portion of the electorate will be forced to vote without the benefit of important information to which it is entitled about the performance of one of the candidates for U.S. President while serving as Secretary of State,” the lawyers wrote.
The State Department said they would release some of the documents by the original Jan. 29 deadline, but an “internal oversight” caused them to miss 7,200 emails and there was not enough time to send them to other agencies to review for potential redactions, a spokesman claimed. The Department also blamed the storm, saying on Friday that it would “disrupt the Clinton email team’s current plans to work a significant number of hours throughout the upcoming weekend.”
A number of Republicans were critical of the State Department seeking to delay the release of the final batch of emails.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said it was the Obama administration’s way of helping Clinton in the early primary elections.
“It’s clear that the State Department’s delay is all about ensuring any further damaging developments in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal are revealed only after the votes are counted in the early nominating states,” Priebus said in a statement on Friday.
“A ruling in favor of this blatant attempt to shield Hillary Clinton from accountability would further erode trust in our political system.”