In an attempt to bring justice to the Clinton’s, lawyers are now demanding access to Bill Clinton’s full schedules during his presidency in the White House. Why? Check it out.
Republicans have opened a new front in the sprawling legal war over the release of State Department emails: a battle to open up thousands of pages of schedules for former President Bill Clinton.
But the clock is ticking down on the GOP’s hopes to use the trove of details on Clinton’s post-presidency against his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, before the November election.
The records turned up recently in response to a broad-ranging Republican National Committee Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for all emails between various aides to Hillary Clinton during her four-year tenure as secretary of state and certain private Web domains used by the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation and related organizations.
State turned over 14 pages of heavily redacted Bill Clinton schedules to the RNC in June amid a smattering of other records. Just about the only substantive information left in the daily calendars for the former president were weather forecasts for the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York.
Last week, the State Department acknowledged that the 14 pages are only the tip of the iceberg: an estimated 5,400 pages of Bill Clinton schedules are due to be processed for release to the GOP — more than half the records covered by the suit.
A spokesman for the former president declined to comment on the unfolding legal dispute over the release of his schedules.
State revealed the existence of the large collection of Bill Clinton schedules after the RNC made an unusual legal move last month, asking a federal judge to declare that the former president’s schedules should be released in their entirety because the former president worked closely with State officials and his post-presidency office is funded with taxpayer dollars. The GOP also pointed to the ethical controversy over the Clinton Foundation soliciting donations abroad while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
“The record … reflects that State Department officials and Clinton Foundation officials worked essentially hand in glove, coordinating President Clinton’s schedule and whom he would speak with, as well as talking points and even briefings with regard to political ramifications of certain meetings or events,” wrote Jason Torchinsky, an attorney for the RNC. “The electronic calendar records at issue here merely are a function of, and inextricably intertwined with, that coordinated effort with the federal agency officials.”
While the thousands of pages of Bill Clinton’s schedules could provide ample fodder for opposition researchers at the RNC, it’s uncertain whether the GOP will get its hands on many of them before the November election. The RNC suit is one of dozens trying to pry records out of State before the election. In order to try to manage the burden on the strained agency, judges have limited the volume of records the agency is required to process in specific cases,
In the suit in which the Bill Clinton schedules are now in dispute, State is obliged to process only 500 pages per month. The agency usually also has discretion over what order the records are processed in, something that could slow release of the schedules even further.
However, the ex-president’s schedules are also popping up in responses to the dozens of other pending suits and FOIA requests. In fact, about 1,000 pages of the heavily redacted Bill Clinton schedules showed up at POLITICO’s offices Monday, apparently in response to a more-than-six-year-old request for information on ethics approvals for the former president’s speeches.
Notes on those copies of the schedules say they were processed for release to the conservative group Judicial Watch, which filed suit in 2013, seeking State records related to former President Clinton.
Notations on the few schedules turned over to the RNC show they were redacted almost entirely on privacy grounds. Small sections were deleted for law enforcement reasons, perhaps relating to Secret Service arrangements.