Over the next two weeks, the Clinton Library and the National Archives will release as many as 33,000 pages of presidential records from Bill Clinton’s years in the White House-creating a trove of new documents for Hillary Clinton’s friends and foes to sift through as she considers running for president in 2016.
The National Archives and Records Administration announced Thursday that the first 4,000 to 5,000 pages of the previously confidential documents would be released at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark., and on the library’s website Friday afternoon.
The 33,000 pages were previously withheld under the Presidential Records Act, which allows a president to restrict access to certain memos for up to 12 years. In this case, the documents were withheld from release because they contained “confidential communications requesting or submitting advice” between the president and his advisers, or were related to appointments to federal office, the National Archives said.
On Tuesday, Politico reported that the records were still sealed even though the 12-year period for keeping them secret had expired.
The following day, a spokeswoman with the National Archives said representatives for Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama – who both could have requested that the documents remain secret – granted their approval for release.
As the current and former administrations conduct a review of the documents, they will be released in batches, according to a National Archives spokeswoman. One particular area of interest will be documents related to Hillary Clinton’s push to transform the nation’s health-care system in 1993 and 1994.
Some documents about that initiative were made public by Bill Clinton when his wife was running for president in the 2008 election cycle. But at least 1,000 pages were withheld by archives staff at that time because they included confidential advice for Hillary Clinton and the administration. It is possible that some of those documents could be released over the next two weeks.
Earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, published 1990s-era notes from Hillary Clinton’s late friend Diane Blair that delved into Clinton’s role as first lady and the Clintons’ personal travails.