A senior State Department official said Thursday that it is "physically impossible" for the agency to release all of Hillary Clinton’s emails before the election on Nov. 8.
State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a tense hearing in which Democrat and Republican lawmakers clashed over the Clinton email scandal, the Washington Examiner reported.
Kennedy said that it is "simply physically impossible" to release Clinton’s emails by the election due to the department’s backlog of 30,000 Freedom of Information Act requests.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who serves as the Committee chairman, told Kennedy that the State Department has used increased resources to combat these FOIA requests in court, as opposed to releasing them.
"Keep in mind what the State Department is doing: They’re using this taxpayer money to make sure that this information never gets out to the public," Chaffetz said. "The public paid for this information. They have access to this information and the federal government is suing to make sure that they don't get that."
The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), called Thursday’s hearing "just the latest in a series of attacks" against Clinton, adding that the Republicans’ probe into the former secretary of state’s emails is "one-sided" by not investigating Colin Powell’s emails.
The State Department has flagged 14,900 emails for review so far, Kennedy told lawmakers.
Kennedy has blocked multiple inspector general investigations "into allegations of misconduct and presided over stymied FOIA requests for Clinton’s emails" while at the State Department, the Examiner noted.