US State Department spokesperson John Kirby was put on the spot Tuesday during a press briefing, when asked if the State Department would finish its review of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Cilnton's 22 top-secret emails by the elections in November.
Clinton, who has been leading the Democratic race and on Super Tuesday strongly outpaced Senator Bernie Sanders, is being investigated for her illegal use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. It has been found that her emails on the server included those of the highest levels of secrecy, and currently a review is examining if they were classified top-secret when they were sent.
During the briefing Associated Press reporter Matt Lee noted that voters may be interested in learning the results of the review before general elections.
"Can you commit to getting the results of this review into the top secret, into the classified (emails)…before there is a general election in this country?” Lee asked.
Kirby shot down the idea, saying, "I’m not going to commit to a specific timeline. The secretary (John Kerry) wants this review to be done thoroughly and accurately and efficiently, and he’s not going to allow himself, or the process, or the department to be driven by the political calendar on this.”
"In the case of investigations and reviews, it is not always the case that reviews and investigations are given deadlines to be complete. Specifically, because you want investigators to have the leeway to look at things as deeply and as thoroughly as they need to," he said.
"Which is understandable, but at the same time you have to deal with the reality of the year that we’re in. Don’t you?," responded Lee. "I mean presumably, the building, the people in this building who are voters, want to know all of the information that they can before they go, they go into the voting booth, right?"
At that point another reporter interjected, saying, "and if you were worried about being accused of politicizing this issue, you run a greater risk of doing that should you release the report after the election than you would if you did it before. That is an opinion. That’s not a question."