State Department officials released roughly 2,900 pages of Hillary Clinton's private emails early Friday morning, several hours past their target of late Thursday evening.
State first set a broad target of somewhere between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday. But as the night wore on, that shifted to a 2 a.m. estimate. They were finally released right around 1 a.m.
The late release was on top of State's failure to release all the emails by New Year's Eve. Instead of releasing everything on Dec. 31, State said it needed another few days to finish the group of Clinton messages.
The new batch of records contains 45 classified messages, including one that was upgraded to "secret," a higher level of classification. Last week, the agency published a batch of emails that contained 275 classified records, raising further questions about Clinton's prior remarks that none of her emails included classified information — she has said none were classified at the time the emails were sent.
Agency officials pointed to the holiday schedule for their failure to reach a court-ordered benchmark for the publication of Clinton's emails at the end of December. The early morning release by State was an attempt to make up for that shortfall.
Citing the heavy burden of screening so many emails in a short period of time, the agency also announced on Thursday it would not include subject lines or information about senders and recipients with the records. The omissions made the emails more difficult to search.
The email release came the same day as the publication of a scathing report by the State Department's own inspector general, which found Clinton's aides had deliberately and improperly ignored at least one Freedom of Information Act for her email records while she was still serving as secretary of State.
The release of emails at the end of every month since May was forced by a FOIA lawsuit filed by Jason Leopold, a reporter at Vice News.
Thursday marked the ninth time the State Department has published a significant number of emails online, and one more major release is slated for Jan. 29. At that point, all 55,000 pages of Clinton's emails that State has in its possession will be available online.