Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, facing questions over her use of a private e-mail system while secretary of state, signed a statement over the weekend declaring “under penalty of perjury” that she has turned over to the government all of the e-mails that were federal records.
The statement, which the State Department submitted to a federal court Monday, matches what she and her campaign have said for months about her exclusive use of a private e-mail account and server to conduct public business.
But it comes as Republicans have charged that Clinton may have withheld some correspondence that should have been part of the public record.
Clinton’s e-mail practices have also drawn scrutiny in recent days from the FBI, which is examining the security of the setup in the wake of a finding by government officials that classified material was sent through the system. Officials have said that Clinton is not a target of the investigation.
In a statement that begins, “I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct,” Clinton also acknowledges that her top aide, Huma Abedin, used an account on the same private domain for public business. She states that another aide, Cheryl Mills, did not use the domain, clintonemail.com.
In October 2014, 20 months after Clinton stepped down, the State Department asked her and other former secretaries of state to turn over any public records that they still held, to preserve the historical record and assist in responding to records requests. Those requests included a congressional inquiry into September 2012 attacks on two U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya.
Clinton has said that she and her attorney examined the e-mails and turned over all those that dealt with public business. In her new declaration, she writes that she directed that all e-mails that “were or potentially were” federal records be provided to the State Department. She turned over more than 30,000 e-mails, which are now being vetted and gradually released publicly.
Clinton has said she chose not to keep the remaining e-mails, indicating they dealt exclusively with personal matters.
The declaration comes as part of a separate public records lawsuit brought by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch related to Abedin’s employment status as a Clinton aide in the State Department. That suit was dismissed in March, after the State Department indicated that it had no additional records to release.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan reopened the case in June, citing the possibility that additional records existed among Clinton’s personal e-mails. He has since asked sharp questions about Clinton’s e-mail setup and, on July 31, ordered the State Department to seek a declaration from Clinton that she had handed over all her public documents.
Sullivan has also ordered the State Department to identify all servers, accounts, hard drives or other devices that may contain documents related to Judicial Watch’s request and that Clinton, Abedin and Mills describe, under penalty of perjury, how they used the private server to conduct public business.
In a statement, Judicial Watch charged that Clinton’s declaration did not fully comply with all of Sullivan’s order, including describing the extent to which Abedin and Mills used her server. “This declaration raises more questions than it answers and shows contempt for the court,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
Later Monday, Judicial Watch filed a response in court indicating that despite Clinton’s declaration, “many issues remain unresolved.” He cited a series of issues her statement did not address.
“She does not identify who she directed to return such records to [the State Department]. Nor does she identify the process and criteria by which the unnamed individual was to search for, review, and return to [the State Department] all potential federal records,” a lawyer for the group wrote.