Hillary Clinton held dozens of meetings with political donors and other operatives during her time as secretary of State that were left off her official schedule, a new report found, and the State Department Friday refused to defend the apparent omissions.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press as part of a lawsuit involving the Obama administration showed at least 75 meetings with longtime backers of her political efforts, the Clinton Foundation or other interests that were either not included on her official calendar or whose names were not disclosed.
There were at least 114 non-governmental officials who attended those meetings and meals with Clinton, the AP found.
On Friday, State Department spokesman John Kirby refused to defend the discrepancies, citing both the ongoing AP lawsuit and the passage of time.
“Regardless of the ongoing litigation I am not in a position — nor should I be expected to — to speak of the scheduling habits of a previous secretary of State,” Kirby told reporters. “I’m not able to do that.”
“It’s a case of ongoing litigation and I’m simply not able to discuss it further.”
The AP located the discrepancies with Clinton’s schedule by comparing a 1,500-page official calendar with separate plans compiled by Clinton’s aides each day.
The omissions would not amount to violations of the law, and many can be explained by changing circumstances or differing levels of detail between the two records, according to Clinton’s campaign.
But Clinton’s critics are likely to view the episode as an example of excessive secrecy and a questionable mix of government business with outside interests.
News of the differing calendars comes on top of the intense focus on Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal computer server to send and receive emails while in office, which is now the target of a federal investigation. Critics have also viewed skeptically the web of relationships that Clinton had with outsiders while serving as secretary of State, and how they might have interacted with her family foundation.
During the State Department’s daily press briefing on Friday, Kirby said that Secretary John Kerry’s calendars “are being maintained and preserved as they should be.”
“I can’t speak to how it was done in the past,” he sad. “But the secretary’s calendars are being properly preserved and maintained, and that includes who he’s meeting with.”
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