Benghazi panel asks for Clin­ton in­ter­view

Wants to know why she hid emails

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

The Benghazi in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee on Tues­day for­mally re­quested that for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton give a tran­scribed in­ter­view de­tail­ing her de­ci­sion-mak­ing in de­ter­min­ing which emails she turned over to the gov­ern­ment and why she wiped her email server clean.

Chair­man Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Repub­li­can, made the re­quest as the State Depart­ment be­gan to di­vulge some of Mrs. Clin­ton’s emails that she hid for years. One of the early mes­sages con­tra­dicts her claim that she wanted to use a sin­gle elec­tronic de­vice for email.

Mr. Gowdy said Mrs. Clin­ton’s “unique ar­range­ment with her­self” — in which she claimed com­plete con­trol of gov­ern­ment busi­ness email — needs to be ex­plained, and no­body other than Mrs. Clin­ton can do that.

The in­ter­view would be be­hind closed doors but would be part of the com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s record. A public hear­ing would be held once the se­lect in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee has gath­ered all of the doc­u­ments it be­lieves it needs, Mr. Gowdy said in a let­ter to Mrs. Clin­ton’s at­tor­ney.

“We con­tinue to be­lieve Sec­re­tary Clin­ton’s email ar­range­ment with her­self is highly un­usual, if not un­prece­dented,” he said. “The de­ci­sion to delete th­ese records dur­ing the pen­dency of a con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tion only ex­ac­er­bates our need to bet­ter un­der­stand what the sec­re­tary did, when she did it, and why she did it. While she has cited a va­ri­ety of jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for this ar­range­ment, many ques­tions and de­tails about the ar­range­ment re­main unan­swered.”

Mr. Gowdy said the ques­tions in­clude why Mrs. Clin­ton re­fused a gov­ern­ment-is­sued ac­count and set up her own ac­count and server; why she kept the emails her­self rather than turn­ing them over to the State Depart­ment when she left of­fice in early 2013; and how she de­cided which of the 62,000 emails from her time in of­fice she would delete, and which she would turn over.

The chair­man also point­edly made clear that since the emails are un­der com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­ga­tion, any ac­tion to de­stroy them would be il­le­gal. He said that is why Mrs. Clin­ton must turn over her server to a neu­tral third party — a re­quest Mrs. Clin­ton’s team has re­jected, say­ing she al­ready has com­plied with the law.

Clin­ton spokesman Nick Mer­rill said Mrs. Clin­ton looks for­ward to a public hear­ing, but he didn’t ad­dress Mr. Gowdy’s re­quest for a tran­scribed in­ter­view.

“Sec­re­tary Clin­ton al­ready told the com­mit­tee months ago that she was ready to ap­pear at a public hear­ing. It is by their choice that hasn’t hap­pened,” Mr. Mer­rill said. “To be clear, she re­mains ready to ap­pear at a hear­ing open to the Amer­i­can public.”

The White House, which has tried to keep the Clin­ton email sit­u­a­tion at arm’s length, waved off ques­tions about the Benghazi com­mit­tee’s re­quest, say­ing it is up to Mrs. Clin­ton, who spokesman Josh Earnest made clear is no longer part of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“If the com­mit­tee makes a re­quest and Sec­re­tary Clin­ton, in her ca­pac­ity as a pri­vate cit­i­zen, de­cides that she wants to — once again — go above and be­yond in terms of try­ing to pro­vide them in­for­ma­tion and ac­cess, then that will be a de­ci­sion for her to make,” Mr. Earnest said.

Mrs. Clin­ton said she used an email server she set up at her home in New York, and is­sued her­self her own email ad­dress, be­cause she wanted to use a sin­gle de­vice and ac­count for both per­sonal and pri­vate mail. She has said she determined that about 30,000 of her 62,000 emails from her time in of­fice were gov­ern­ment-re­lated, and in De­cem­ber — nearly two years af­ter she left of­fice — she turned those over to the State Depart­ment amid prod­ding by the Benghazi com­mit­tee.


Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Repub­li­can and chair­man of the Benghazi in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee, said Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s “unique ar­range­ment with her­self” — in which she claimed com­plete con­trol of gov­ern­ment busi­ness email — needs to be ex­plained, and no­body other than Mrs. Clin­ton can do that.

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