Before he became Treasury secretary, Jacob Lew in 2010 sought to placate congressional Democrats who were seeking suggestions on ways to trim spending by proposing "symbolic" cuts only, according to a new batch of emails involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

According to emails sent and received on June 1, 2010, Clinton emailed Lew, who was then at the State Department, about the call from Congress to undertake a "cutting exercise." The goal was to "get our ideas about what can be cut from our budget."

Lew wrote back that Congress, which was led by Democrats at the time, might be considering cuts across all agencies. But he suggested that State delay replying with suggested cuts.

"I thought it was a bit early to start giving a list of what we would cut if the allocation is very bad, but will have people work on some recommendations for us to review while Congress is away," he said.

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