On March 31, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)–chairman of the House Select Committee of Benghazi–requested a transcribed interview with Hillary Clinton to answer questions regarding the use of her private email system during her tenure as Secretary of State. Yesterday, the Clinton lawyers responded by saying no (via NYT):
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lawyer told Representative Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks, that she saw no need for a private interview over her use of a private email account while secretary of state and asked that he not delay her next appearance before the committee.
The letter from Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, comes as she is ramping up her presidential campaign and hoping to put the controversies over her email use and the attack in Libya behind her.
“There is no reason to delay her appearance or to have her testify in a private interview,” Mr. Kendall wrote, adding that she has already publicly answered questions about her email practices at the State Department.
Mrs. Clinton has testified on Benghazi before House and Senate committees, and Mr. Kendall said she would be happy to discuss her email use when she testifies before Mr. Gowdy’s panel.
On March 4, the committee issued a subpoena “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 has issued preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.”
On March 10, Clinton held a press conference addressing the controversy over her private email account, adding that she deleted at least 30,000 emails that were deemed personal.
Ten days later, Rep. Gowdy asked for Clinton to turn over the server to an independent third party for review. They refused, citing the emails relating to Benghazi had been turned over–and that the server had been wiped clean, along with any back-up system connected to the former first lady’s private email system.
To address the criticism that Clinton deleted emails that were under subpoena, her lawyer, Kendall, said all the emails pertaining to that order were already turned over to the committee.
Rep. Gowdy lauded the Clinton legal team for their prompt response.
“I appreciate Mr. Kendall’s timely response to our letter but respectfully disagree with his assertion former Secretary Clinton has answered all questions surrounding the unusual email arrangement she had with herself,” he said in a statement yesterday:
The press conference held by former Secretary Clinton and the subsequent efforts at clarifying her remarks served to create more questions than answers. I also would note that if the Committee had called former Secretary Clinton when Democrats and her attorney first encouraged us to, the committee would not have had possession of the 300 emails we now have or known about her exclusive use of a personal server and email account to conduct official business.
“Beyond that, the committee has Mr. Kendall’s letter under advisement and will issue a response tomorrow setting out a reasonable path forward with respect to Secretary Clinton's appearances to discuss both Benghazi as well as congressional efforts to ensure the public record is complete with respect to her tenure as Secretary of State.”