by Rachael Bade • Politico
Long-time Hillary Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines handed the State Department 20 boxes of work-related emails taken in part from a personal email account, State officials said Wednesday, calling into question the extent to which top aides to the former secretary of state also engaged in controversial email practices.
State Department top document official John Hackett, who heads Freedom of Information Act requests for the agency, told a federal judge in a court hearing Wednesday that Reines was among several officials asked to turn over any any work-related documents in his possession.
Story Continued Below
He handed over 20 boxes last night, according to a separate State lawyer present at the hearing. The hearing involved a lawsuit filed by the Associated Press that charges the agency with failing to respond to FOIA requests.
Hackett also told the court that State couldn’t produce all of the documents requested by the AP at this time — including one related to Huma Abedin’s role as a “special government employee.” He said the agency is still awaiting work-related emails from former agency officials Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills. Hackett did not say whether the documents being sought were from a personal account or State.gov account.
The Reines revelations call into question the extent to which Clinton’s aides relied on personal emails for official business, which goes against government record-keeping and transparency rules.
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate has been criticized for exclusively using personal email while serving as the nation’s lead diplomat. Clinton’s use of a home-brewed server was unearthed after Hill Republicans opened a special investigative panel to dig into the 2012 Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack. The Benghazi panel has also uncovered instances where top aides seemed to be writing from a personal email address.
Since then, Clinton has faced questions about her treatment of classified information and her secrecy..
But the court hearing suggests such controversial practices may have extended beyond her.
Reines did not respond to an emailed request for comment. But earlier this year he took Gawker to task for publishing a story suggesting he used personal email for work purposes..
Hackett said Reines sent over the document boxes with a cover letter, suggesting they contained a hodgepodge of work related items also mixed with personal messages.
To clarify, the judge asked Hackett if Reines was “asked to produce in his personal email system, federal records… and he produced 20 boxes of emails in his personal emails. Is that” your understanding?
Hackett said it was.