State Department officials asked a judge Wednesday to push back by more than two years a deadline to produce emails from four of Hillary Clinton's top aides, a move that would delay the release of those records until just before the 2018 midterm elections.
But the request was not the first time the State Department attempted to stall the release of Clinton emails amid growing scrutiny of the presumptive Democratic nominee's tenure at the agency.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the International Business Times, the State Department moved earlier this month to avoid handing over Clinton's correspondence about the Trans-Pacific Partnership until after the election by requesting a deadline extension to Nov. 31 — a day that, incidentally, does not exist.
The State Department told the Republican National Committee that it would have to wait 75 years to obtain the emails of just three of Clinton's top aides in another FOIA lawsuit. An agency spokesman later defended the seven-decade delay, denying that it was "outlandish."
Agency officials said in court documents filed Wednesday that they "deeply regret" the "errors" that led them to request a 27-month delay in a FOIA lawsuit filed by Citizens United.
In those three cases alone, the State Department has asked for nearly 80 years of delays before producing records related to Clinton.
The agency is presently engaged in more than 100 separate FOIA lawsuits, according to documents filed in federal court Monday.
Bogged down in a deluge of open records requests ahead of the presidential election, the State Department has consistently argued it is not equipped to handle the high volume of FOIA cases.
In fact, the agency said in court filings it had received 8,500 new FOIA requests since Oct. 2015.