The State Department has been unable to find any emails to or from a former aide to Hillary Clinton who managed her private email server while she was secretary of state, a court filing has revealed.
The government revelation, made in US District Court in Washington, came in answer to a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee (RNC).
It had sued over a public records request for all work-related emails sent to or received by Mrs Clinton’s former aide, Bryan Pagliano, between 2009 and 2013, when she was in office.
The RNC filing said lawyers for the agency had informed them in discussions that “the State Department has represented that no responsive records exist” for any emails from the former aide.
Mr Pagliano was hired by the State Department after reportedly setting up Mrs Clinton’s private server in 2009.
But the lack of any official emails raised the question whether he limited his email traffic using a private account, similar to Mrs Clinton, or whether his government emails were deleted.
A State Department official said on Monday that the agency possessed emails from Mr Pagliano from after Mrs Clinton’s tenure had ended, when he continued to work as a technology contractor.
Agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau later added that some emails dating from when Mrs Clinton was in office had been recovered from agency officials’ files and turned over to other organisations.
She said: “We have previously produced through FOIA and to Congress emails sent and received by Mr Pagliano during Secretary Clinton’s tenure.”
At least one email, sent in November 2012 from Mr Pagliano to Mrs Clinton, was released as part of 30,000 emails made public by the agency over the last year.
A spokesman for the RNC said the organisation stood by its filing that “the State Department has represented that no responsive records exist”.
Raj Shah, a spokesman for the RNC, said: “It’s hard to believe that an IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s reckless email server never sent or received a single work-related email in the four years he worked at the State Department.”
Officials with Mrs Clinton’s Democratic nomination campaign declined to comment.
Ms Trudeau said the department would respond further to the RNC in court, but added it was working with Congress and public records requesters to provide relevant material.
Mr Pagliano has been offered immunity by the Justice Department in its investigation into Mrs Clinton’s server and emails, and whether they violated national security laws.
Last week, it emerged that a top aide to Mrs Clinton – Huma Abedin – had been interviewed by the FBI as part of its investigation into the email server.
(c) Sky News 2016
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