WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — One of the final sets of emails from Hillary Clinton's term as secretary of state was released Thursday, with more expected to come next week.
The State Department had planned to release over 8,000 pages to meet a court-ordered goal of having 82% of Clinton's emails made public by the end of December, but the agency said in a statement that, despite working "diligently," it fell short of that figure.
About 5,500 pages were released Thursday, and the department said additional emails would be released next week. Under a federal court order, the State Department was required to release batches of emails at the end of every month until January, totaling 55,000 pages of emails Clinton deemed to be work-related.
The Democratic presidential front-runner used a personal email address on a private server to communicate while she was in office, an arrangement that has drawn criticism from Republicans and has led to an FBI investigation.
She has apologized to the public and admitted the email setup was a mistake.
Clinton has maintained that none of the emails she sent or received were marked as classified at the time, but including the latest release, parts of over 1,250 messages have been retroactively classified. The inspector general for the intelligence community has indicated that at least two included "top secret" information when they were sent.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) released a statement Thursday attacking Clinton over the apparent classified information contained in many of the documents and her actions as secretary of state in general.
"With an expanded FBI investigation underway and new details emerging about the conflicts of interest her server was designed to conceal, Hillary Clinton has shown she lacks the character and judgement to be president during this critical time for our country," the RNC said.
Republican presidential front-runner questioned the timing of the document release on Twitter, writing, "Do you believe that The State Department, on NEW YEAR'S EVE, just released more of Hillary's e-mails." The State Department is required by a court order to release the emails on the last weekday of the month.
While reporters are still digging through the New Year's Eve document dump, details uncovered so far are similar to those in previous releases, providing a look inside the day-to-day operations of Clinton's office but no real bombshells suggesting wrongdoing.
The emails include a flow chart depicting which staffers were allowed to ride in a limo with Clinton under what circumstances. Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon described that one as "awesome" on Twitter.
Other messages reveal efforts to control potentially damaging news reports, including one about the CIA annex in Benghazi that was attacked along with a diplomatic compound there in 2012, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
The latest documents also include one email from Stevens to a Clinton aide that was forwarded to the secretary in July 2012 about the progress of Libyan elections and conditions on the ground in Tripoli, which he described as "very festive."
As in previous releases, many messages show Clinton's staff praising her or passing on complements from others. One ambassador described Clinton as "kick ass fabulous."
The redaction of certain information left some documents completely indecipherable.
Some emails also deal with mundane details like scheduling.
One message from friend and former adviser Sydney Blumenthal claims that German Chancellor Angela Merkel "dislikes the atmospherics surrounding the Obama phenomenon."
Another email highlighted by Politico suggests that liberal billionaire George Soros regretting backing Obama over Clinton in 2008. "He likes to admit mistakes when he makes them and that was one of them," an ally who spoke to Soros at an event told Clinton.
Clinton has said she did much of her business by phone and in person, and she generally handled classified information on the appropriate secure channels.
One new discovery that came in a previous batch of emails was that Clinton told her daughter and other world leaders that the Benghazi attacks were a planned terrorist act before public statements from the Obama administration blamed spontaneous protests over an anti-Islam video.
In a new interview with the Conway, New Hampshire Daily Sun editorial board this week, Clinton said the inconsistent messages were a result of the "fog of war," and everything she said publicly was based on the best information from the intelligence community at the time.
Clinton was also asked by the newspaper about reports that she blamed the video when speaking to family members of the men who died in Benghazi. A columnist suggested either she or the families is lying about what she said to them.
Asked who is lying, she responded, "Not me, that's all I can tell you."
"I can't recite for you everything that was in a conversation where people were sobbing, where people were distraught, the president and the vice president, we were all making the rounds talking to people, listening to people," Clinton told the newspaper. "I was in a very difficult position because we have not yet said two of the four dead were CIA ... This was a part of the fog of war."
Aside from Trump, Republican presidential candidates have not addressed the latest Clinton email dump yet, but experts told Sinclair her critics will surely bring up any controversial messages that could damage the potential Democratic nominee's standing in the polls next week and in the future as more voters pay attention to the race.