Clinton confidant and hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal turned over about 60 new emails to the House Select Committee on Benghazi ahead of his closed-door deposition before the committee Tuesday morning. The new emails were among the 120 Libya- and Benghazi-related emails Blumenthal handed over last Friday in response to the committee’s subpoena.
“Sidney Blumenthal produced to the Committee nearly 60 new emails regarding Libya and Benghazi,” Chairman Trey Gowdy said in a statement. “These emails were not previously produced to the Committee or released to the public, and they will help inform tomorrow’s deposition. We are prepared to release these emails, but where practicable our internal processes include consultation with the Ranking Member before release. If Ranking Member Cummings consents, we will add to the former Secretary’s public email record and release these shortly. If not, we will do so after the required five days has passed.”
“Given the volume and frankly the detail of the correspondence between this witness and former Secretary Clinton, it’s important for the committee to probe the depth, breadth and frankly the reliability of that information that he passed off,” Gowdy said minutes before heading into the hearing Tuesday morning.
“I think it’s noteworthy that no committee of Congress that has previously looked into the Benghazi or Libya uncovered these memos, and I will leave it to you to figure out whether there was a failure to produce on the former secretary’s part or a failure to produce on the Department of State’s behalf,” the South Carolina Republican told the group of roughly a dozen reporters that were waiting outside the closed-door deposition.
Blumenthal’s memos about the conditions on the ground in libya have drawn scrutiny because he sent them while advising businesses interests there. Also raising a red flag is the fact that the memos of a sleezy Clinton fixer with little to no foreign policy expertise were given credence by the secretary of State and circulated throughout the department without giving the source.
Because of Clinton’s “unusual” email arrangement — she used a private email server rather than the government’s — she has been able to pick and choose which emails were “official” communications to be turned over to State. Her server has since been scrubbed clean.
Panel Republicans are pushing to release the emails as early as Tuesday but need Democrats to agree to do so under committee rules that require the minority to be given a five-day warning before release.
In the meantime, they’re wondering why they didn’t have them in the first place.
Clinton has said she and her team gave all her work-related correspondence over to State, which was then tasked with going through the emails and giving the panel relevant messages. Department officials turned up about 300 emails related to the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound that left four Americans dead.
The congressional source did not know whether Clinton had turned over all the new emails to State and State did not provide them, or whether Clinton failed to hand over the correspondence.
House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday morning: “New revelations that the Obama State Department or former Secretary Hillary Clinton withheld emails related to Benghazi and Libya from the Select Committee are outrageous. First she set up a private server to avoid transparency and records law, then she wiped it clean while its contents were under subpoena – and apparently failed to ensure congressional investigators were provided with everything they are entitled to. What in the world is she trying to hide?”
Gowdy is expected to hold a media availabilty after the deposition. He will also be appearing on The Kelly File tonight.