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 weighs a 2016 presidential run.
The National Archives and Records Administration announced Thursday afternoon that the first 4,000 to 5,000 pages of the previously confidential documents would be released at the Clinton Library in Little Rock 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 advisors, 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 for the National Archives said representatives for former President Clinton and President 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, the pages will be released in batches, according to a National Archives spokeswoman. One area of particular interest will be documents related to Hillary Clinton's push to transform the nation's healthcare 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 the then-first lady 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 delve into Clinton's role as first lady and the first couple's personal travails.
The Clinton Library document release comes at a time when the former secretary of State is keeping an active schedule of speeches and events that will bring her to California next week for a panel at UCLA with political science professor Lynn Vavreck, and for a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach.
On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton addressed a healthcare conference in Orlando followed by a speech to students at the University of Miami at Coral Gables.
At the healthcare conference, Clinton defended President Obama's Affordable Care Act and made rare remarks about some of the problems the law has faced. The host group, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, declined to release a recording of Clinton's remarks to the Los Angeles Times. But a CNN reporter who covered the conference reported that she praised some aspects of the healthcare law and said the challenge would be to "figure out what is working and what isn't."
"We are on the right track in many respects," she said of the healthcare law, according to a report by CNN's Dan Merica, "but I would be the first to say if things aren't working then we need people of good faith to come together and make evidence-based changes."