DOJ lawyers ask for 2-year extension to produce Clinton aides' emails

By Theodore Schleifer CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Justice Department lawyers are asking for a two-year extension to process emails from Hillary Clinton's aides in order to produce correspondence requested by a conservative advocacy organization.

Lawyers this week said they were unable to satisfy a Freedom of Information Act request -- the deadline for which is later this month -- as quickly as once anticipated and now need until October 2018 to produce the records for Citizens United.

Citizens United is asking for emails between four Clinton aides -- Michael Fuchs, Melanne Verveer, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin -- to or from people associated with two Clinton-associated groups: the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings. Teneo is a consulting firm that employed Abedin at the same time she worked for Clinton at the State Department.

"As it began processing these documents, however, (the State Department) determined that the volume of responsive materials was much greater than initially estimated because its initial search had inadvertently excluded potentially responsive materials," the lawyers write in the filing on Wednesday, estimating that there are still 13,679 pages of records to review.

The State Department guessed that it could only review about 500 pages a month at most given their current resources.

The emails were supposed to have been shared by July 21.

Citizens United President David N. Bossie called the DOJ's request "totally unacceptable."

"The American people have a right to see these emails before the election. If transparency is truly important to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, they will order the production of all of these records as ordered by the court by July 21, 2016," Bossie said in a statement. "The conflicts of interest that were made possible by the activities of Hillary Clinton's State Department in tandem with the Clinton Foundation are of significant importance to the public and the law enforcement community."

Citizens United has filed several lawsuits to uncover more about links between Clinton's tenure as secretary of state and various Clinton-backed entities while she was in office. The group sued after submitting six separate FOIA requests to the department.

Earlier this month, emails obtained by Citizens United revealed that Rajiv Fernando, a major political donor to the Clintons and other top Democrats, was selected by Clinton to serve on a key State Department intelligence board in 2011 despite having no clear background in the area.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign said at the time that Fernando served on an "unpaid, volunteer advisory board, and one of several foreign policy-focused organizations that he was involved with. As the State Department itself has said, the (International Security Advisory Board) charter calls for a diverse set of experiences for its members. That's all there is to it."

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