The State Department will block the release of seven more of Hillary Clinton’s emails because they contain top secret information, a Republican lawmaker said Wednesday.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R., Utah), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Examiner that these emails are in addition to the 22 top secret messages found on Clinton’s personal, unsecured server that the government agency announced it would withhold from releasing last week.
"There are more than 22, and it’s not just one or two more," Stewart, a veteran of the Air Force, said. "It’s a more meaningful number than that."
"These were classified at the top secret level, and in some cases, above that," the Republican congressman said.
Last Friday, the State Department admitted for the first time that some of Clinton’s messages contain top secret information. Previously, the agency disputed the inspector general of the intelligence community for identifying two emails as top secret, arguing that the messages may have been overclassified.
Clinton’s presidential campaign has maintained that the emails were overclassified.
In sum, more than 1,300 Clinton emails released by the State Department have been classified to some extent. However, it remains unclear whether the emails were classified at the time they originated on Clinton’s private email server.
The State Department said last week that its Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus are examining whether the 22 top secret emails contained information that was classified when the messages were sent.
The FBI is currently investigating Clinton’s private email setup, which could lead to an indictment.
Clinton has been battling the email controversy since it was first revealed last March that she exclusively used a personal email system to conduct sensitive government business as secretary of state. The issue has presented hurdles for Clinton as she pursues the Democratic nomination for president, with voters increasingly viewing her unfavorably and as not trustworthy.
Clinton claimed a narrow victory over her competitor for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), in the Democratic caucus in Iowa on Monday, leading him by 0.2 percentage points. Next week, the two will face off in the primary in New Hampshire, where Sanders leads Clinton by over 30 points, according to recent polling.