As if there was any doubt the Obama administration is doing everything it can to protect likely Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the latest shamefully political move by the State Department was on display today as it abruptly blocked the release of key Clinton correspondence from her time as secretary of state.
This time, it’s not about the email scandal in which the former secretary of state is embroiled; rather, it’s about her views on trade — a topic that’s playing an important role this election cycle, particularly as it relates to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Trade is a hot issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. But correspondence from Hillary Clinton and her top State Department aides about a controversial 12-nation trade deal will not be available for public review — at least not until after the election. The Obama administration abruptly blocked the release of Clinton’s State Department correspondence about the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), after first saying it expected to produce the emails this spring.
The decision came in response to International Business Times’ open records request for correspondence between Clinton’s State Department office and the United States Trade Representative. The request, which was submitted in July 2015, specifically asked for all such correspondence that made reference to the TPP.
The State Department originally said it estimated the request would be completed by April 2016. Last week the agency said it had completed the search process for the correspondence but also said it was delaying the completion of the request until late November 2016 — weeks after the presidential election. The delay was issued in the same week the Obama administration filed a court motion to try to kill a lawsuit aimed at forcing the federal government to more quickly comply with open records requests for Clinton-era State Department documents.
Clinton’s shifting positions on the TPP have been a source of controversy during the campaign: She repeatedly promoted the deal as secretary of state but then in 2015 said, “I did not work on TPP,” even though some leaked State Department cables show that her agency was involved in diplomatic discussions about the pact. Under pressure from her Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, Clinton announced in October that she now opposes the deal — and has disputed that she ever fully backed it in the first place.
If IBT’s open records request is fulfilled on the last day of November, as the State Department now estimates, it will have taken 489 days for the request to be fulfilled. According to Justice Department statistics, the average wait time for a State Department request is 111 days on a simple request — the longest of any federal agency the department’s report analyzed. Requests classified as complex by the State Department can take years.
Isn’t that interesting — shameful, really — that the department which contains key documents surrounding the likely Democrat nominee is setting new milestones for its stonewalling in complying with open records requests?
It would appear Hillary has been less than forthcoming about her views about the TPP and now the Obama administration is actively helping her keep the American voters in the dark about her real views and behavior around the topic so that they are unable to make an informed decision this November.
How shamefully typical of this administration that we have to elect the president before we know what she truly stands for.
Presumptive GOP nominee is already calling foul — as well he should — and demanding the documents’ release.
“Hillary Clinton’s TPP emails should absolutely be released, as her support for TPP threatens to permanently undermine U.S. workers and sovereignty,” Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor to the GOP’s presumptive nominee, said in a statement to IBT. “Hillary is 100 percent controlled by corporate interests, including foreign corporate interests, and it is essential these emails see the light of day.”
No doubt this is not the last we’ll hear on this, thanks to Trump…
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]