Hillary Clinton's Deleted Emails Were Individually Reviewed After All, Spokesman Says

PHOTO: Hillary Clinton participates in a womens equality event March 9, 2015 in New York. PlayDON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
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How exactly did Hillary Clinton's team decide which of her emails should be saved and which ones should be deleted?

Three days after Time Magazine initially reported on Team Clinton’s review process to determine which of her emails were work-related and which were personal, the former secretary of state's people are now saying the examination did include opening and reading each email.

They did not confirm or deny Time's reporting for three days, with no explanation for why it took so long to clarify their deletion process.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill has released a statement saying that “in wanting the public to understand how robust of a search was conducted, the fact sheet laid out several examples of the methods used by the reviewers to double and triple check they were capturing everything."

The “fact sheet” refers to a question-and-answer document given out after the news conference last week.

The statement continues: "It was not meant to be taken as a list of every approach performed to ensure thoroughness. Those subsequent steps were in addition to reading them all, not in lieu of reading them all. (No different than our explaining such terms were used but not listing every search term used.) We simply took for granted that reading every single email came across as the most important, fundamental and exhaustive step that was performed. The fact sheet should have been clearer every email was read, which we are doing now.”

The big headline from Clinton’s news conference Tuesday was that, although she claims to have turned over all work-related emails, she deleted the rest of her emails and it appears they are gone forever.

A Time magazine cover story about the email scandal released last week reported: "This review did not involve opening and reading each email. Instead, Clinton’s lawyers created a list of names and keywords related to her work and searched for those. Slightly more than half the total cache -- 31,830 emails -- did not contain any of the search terms, according to Clinton’s staff, so they were deemed to be 'private, personal records.'” Clinton's team is now saying this is not true.

Time didn't disclose how it determined that each email wasn't opened individually, but says it seemed to be consistent with a written explanation provided by Clinton's spokesman after the news conference this week. During the news conference, Clinton did not go into the details of how the review was conducted, but said it was “thorough” and that she went “above and beyond” what she was required to do in turning over many of her emails to the State Department.

"We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department," she said, adding that all other emails were personal and pertained to matters such as "yoga routines," "family vacations," and "planning Chelsea's wedding."

But later, after the news conference, Clinton’s team distributed a lengthy question-and-answer document that detailed the “multi-step” process. The process appeared to have included an extensive, nuanced search of Clinton’s inbox, but the document did not make clear how many of the emails were opened and read in the review.

Today, however, Clinton's team said that all the emails were opened and read.

According to that document from the earlier news conference, here is a summary of how Clinton’s attorneys, whom she tasked with the job, said they sorted through, but it specifically did not say each e mail was read. • First, a search was done of all emails Clinton received from a .gov or state.gov account during the period she was secretary of state -- from 2009 to 2013. • Then, with the remaining emails, a search was done for names of 100 State Department and other U.S. government officials who Clinton may have had correspondence with during her tenure. • Next, the emails were organized and reviewed by sender and recipient to “account for non-obvious or non-recognizable email addresses or misspellings or other idiosyncrasies.” • Lastly, of the emails still left over, a "number of terms" were searched, including “Benghazi” and “Libya.”

The results of the searching were that Clinton’s attorneys found 30,490 work-related emails and 31,830 emails that were deemed “private and personal.”

Clinton said on Tuesday she deleted all of the personal emails because she thought she “had no reason to save them.”

The revelation has only raised more questions among Clinton’s detractors about what was in those emails and why she used the private account in the first place.

On Sunday, ABC News’ Jon Karl reported House Speaker John Boehner is expected to announce this week a new investigation into Clinton's email practices as Secretary of State, according to top House Republicans.

Meanwhile, Clinton is hoping to move past her email issues as she prepares for a more-than-likely presidential campaign that she is expected to announce next month.

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