State Department pressing Clinton lawyer over email gap

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State Department officials are pressing Hillary Clinton's personal lawyer David Kendall to confirm -- again -- whether the former secretary of state really did turn over all official emails, according to Justice Department documents filed as part of a watchdog group's lawsuit against the State Department.

State Department official Patrick Kennedy raised this question with Kendall in an Oct. 2 letter -- obtained by Fox News -- demanding to know why there appears to be a gap of at least two months during which Clinton may not have turned over official emails to the department.

The details emerged in a FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. And the question over a gap in the records follows recent reports that Clinton was emailing with Gen. David Petraeus in January and February 2009 from her personal email account about Obama administration personnel matters -- though she has claimed she only started using that personal account for official business in March 2009.

In the wake of the Petraeus reports, the State Department's Kennedy wrote the letter to Kendall to determine if she really turned over all official documents since "the Department has become aware of emails that were sent to or received from former Secretary Clinton between January and March 2009."

"As a result, I ask that you confirm that, with regard to her tenure as Secretary of State, former Secretary Clinton has provided the Department with all federal records in her possession, regardless of their format or the domain on which they were stored or created, that may not otherwise be preserved in the Department's recordkeeping system," Kennedy wrote to Kendall. "To the extent her emails might be found on any internet service and email providers, we encourage you to contact them."

The inquiry stands as an example of the Obama administration pressing Clinton on her federal record transparency, even as Clinton suggests Republicans are playing politics with probes into the 2012 Benghazi attack and her email practices. The campaign has escalated those charges after House GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was accused by Democrats of linking the Benghazi panel's work to her declining poll numbers.

The stakes for Clinton are high: the Democratic presidential front-runner signed a document this past August certifying that "under the penalty of perjury" she had turned over to the State Department all official emails from the account that were in her possession.