CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the State Department on Tuesday to speed the release of 55,000 pages of emails from her time as secretary of state, as her decision to spurn administration rules and use a private email address continued to dog her presidential campaign.
“I want those emails out,” Clinton said during a campaign event in Iowa.
Clinton’s comments came shortly after a federal judge rejected a State Department proposal to release the emails by next January. The judge instead ordered the agency to conduct a “rolling production” of the records in the meantime.
That all but guarantees a slow drip of revelations from the emails throughout Clinton’s primary campaign, complicating her efforts to put the issue to rest. The agency’s original plan would have set the release date just a few weeks before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
In an Associated Press-GfK poll released earlier this month, six in ten voters said the word “honest” describes Clinton only slightly well or not well at all. And the continuing stories about her use of a private email account run from a server at her New York home while in government have enabled Republicans to work at feeding perceptions she had things to hide.
“If Clinton wanted all of her emails to be public, she wouldn’t have created her own server in the first place,” said Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday she wanted the documents to be released as soon as possible.
“Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do,” she said.
Asked if she would demand their release, Clinton said of the emails, “They’re not mine. They belong to the State Department.”
Clinton turned her emails over to the State Department last year, nearly two years after leaving the Obama administration. Despite administration rules requiring officials to conduct business using their government email addresses, Clinton communicated exclusively via a personal email account run on a private server.
She has said she got rid of about 30,000 emails she deemed exclusively personal. Only she and perhaps a small circle of advisers know the content of the discarded communications.
The State Department made its proposal to release the emails by mid-January in a federal court filing Monday night, as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Vice News. John F. Hackett, who is responsible for the department’s responses to FOIA requests, said in the filing the department had received the 55,000 pages of emails from Clinton in paper form.
“Given the breadth and importance of the many foreign policy issues on which the secretary of state and the department work, the review of these materials will likely require consultation with a broad range of subject matter experts within the department and other agencies, as well as potentially with foreign governments,” he wrote.
The federal judge who rejected the State Department proposal gave the agency a week to craft a schedule for releasing the records, according to Vice News lawyer Jeffrey Light. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the agency would comply.
Clinton addressed the email issue during a rare question-and-answer session with reporters. Before Tuesday, it had been nearly a month since she had taken questions from journalists who are trailing her from stop to stop.
Her reluctance to take questions has fueled criticism from Republicans who say she’s dodging tough issues. Some Democrats have also worried that she has risked looking entitled to the nomination by avoiding speaking about things that other candidates for the nomination are willing to tackle.
Following an hour-long discussion with small business owners in Cedar Falls on Tuesday, Clinton walked over to a waiting crowd of reporters and television cameras.
She briefly addressed questions about her family’s charitable foundation and the enormous sums of money she and husband Bill Clinton have made by giving speeches. Financial disclosures released last week showed that Clinton and her husband had made $25 million on speeches since January 2014.
Clinton said Tuesday that while she and the former president are grateful for the opportunities they have had, “we’ve never forgotten where we came from.”
She also reiterated that she had made a “mistake” in voting for the Iraq War in 2003, wading briefly into a debate that has consumed the Republican presidential field in recent days.