The chairman of the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks isn’t satisfied by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tweet last night that her emails are coming.
“I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible,” Clinton tweeted Wednesday night, a few days after the story broke that she used personal email for the official State Department business.
“As Chairman [Trey] Gowdy noted, former Secretary Clinton has left herself in the unique position of being the only one to determine what records the American people are entitled to. This has significant negative implications for transparency and government oversight, as well as for media and others who have a legitimate interest in understanding the Secretary’s time in office,” Select Committee on Benghazi Communications Director Jamal D. Ware said in a statement moments ago.
“The former Secretary’s tweet does not answer questions about why this was not done when she left office, the integrity of the emails while she controlled them, the scheme to conceal them, or the failure to provide them in logical course,” Ware continued.
“The Chairman has said the former secretary is welcome to and should release all of her emails, but legitimate investigations do not consider partial records. And that is the point of the subpoena issued yesterday by the Benghazi Committee.”
That subpoena is for “all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation.”
The committee also “issued preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.”
Gowdy told Fox last night that “you would think” the fact that her emails weren’t on State Department servers could have “come up in the discussion sooner than last week.”
“We have had compliance hearings, private hearings that were outside of the public eye asking when can we expect production and disclosure. You would think at some point it would come up, hey, by the way, we are not ever going to be able too give them to you because we don’t have them. But last week we realized they don’t have them so now we have to go to the source, which is Secretary Clinton yourself,” Gowdy said.
The chairman said he’s putting a “tight” two-week timeframe on his request. “I need to either have the documents or really a good explanation of why you don’t have to give them to me,” he said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also investigating the administration’s compliance with the Federal Records Act.
“Violations of the Federal Records Act within federal agencies is something we take very seriously,” chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said earlier this week. “The House Oversight Committee will work with Mr. Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi to further explore Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails while at the State Department.”
House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office highlighted how then-press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House in 2011 that “the administration policy that is effective here is that we–all of our work is conducted on work email accounts.”
“The Federal Records Act exists to provide to the American people the level of transparency and accountability they deserve from their federal government,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said. “Her practice frustrated Congressional oversight. The allegations that Secretary Clinton sought to sidestep the law merit robust scrutiny.”
Republican National Committee Chief Counsel John Phillippe sent a letter to State Department Inspector General Steve Linick asking that he “conduct an investigation into whether Secretary Clinton violated Department of State policies concerning the use of personal email addresses to conduct government business.”
“I also urge your office to investigate whether Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email address violated, or caused the Department of State to violate, the requirement to archive emails that are federal records under the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3101 et seq., and associated federal regulations, 36 C.F.R. § 1220 et seq., including specifically 36 C.F.R. § 1236.22,” states the letter.
The letter recommends questions for the IG to ask including “What mechanisms exist to confirm that the 55,000 pages of emails given to the Department of State encapsulate all of Secretary Clinton’s official correspondence?” and “Who at the Department of State was aware that Secretary Clinton created her own personal server?”