A federal judge has ordered the Obama administration to release new emails connected to Hillary Clinton before Democratic National Convention in July.
In an order late on Wednesday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson told the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to hand over to the Republican National Committee (RNC) whatever records it could as part of an RNC’s open-records lawsuit on July 11.
After that, USAID will need to consult with the State Department about hundreds of other pages of documents, which could be released at some point in the future.
The RNC sued the aid agency in March, seeking two sets of communications: those between USAID officials and former aides at the State Department, as well as those between USAID and private domain names associated with Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and others including the Clinton Foundation. The effort appeared to be related to allegations that the former secretary of State’s family foundation had undue influence on USAID.
The RNC lawsuit was one of several it has filed seeking records connected to Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, in a preview of a battle sure to last through the general election.
Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, USAID has claimed that it has discovered approximately 3,300 pages of records that it might be able to hand over to the Republican Party organization. But roughly 2,600 of those reportedly need to be cleared with the State Department before they can be released.
In her order on Wednesday, Jackson said USAID should release to the RNC what it can by July 11 and determine a schedule for releasing the rest.
The time frame would put the release of the first batch of emails just one week before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18 and two weeks before the Democratic convention begins on July 25.
Critics of Clinton, however, will likely be wary of the State Department, which is notoriously slow at responding to Freedom of Information Act requests and has been buried underneath a barrage of demands related to Clinton’s email history in recent months.
Separately late on Wednesday, the Obama administration filed a motion trying to kill a different RNC open-records lawsuit targeting the State Department. That suit is seeking email messages from a slew of Clinton’s former top aides.