South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy — who chairs a congressional committee looking into the Benghazi attacks — says he will meet with House leaders over what to do next after Hillary Clinton’s attorney indicated the former Secretary of State deleted all her personal emails that his committee was seeking.
Clinton has come under criticism from Republicans over the existence of the server, which is likely not covered by public open records laws. The Select Committee on Benghazi that Gowdy chairs issued a subpoena seeking her email records on March 4.
“We learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server,” Gowdy said in a release issued by the Select Committee on Benghazi last week. “While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department.”
“Not only was the Secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,” Gowdy continued.
Clinton’s camp and Democrats on the committee have pointed to statements from her attorney that the former Secretary has already turned over her work-related emails to the State Department. The committee has copies of those emails, but Gowdy previously expressed doubts that it was an exhaustive list. He had called for a third-party arbiter to determine which emails were public and which were private, which Clinton refused.
Gowdy said earlier this month he won’t make those emails public unless the committee has all of them. “We have no idea whether this represents 10 percent of the document production, 50 percent of the document production,” he said in a March 4 press briefing. “We in the past have not produced information selectively. In my judgment, it runs counter to a serious investigation to do so. So, no, I’m not going to produce the emails. She’s welcome to.”
The Republican congressman said his office would work with House leadership on the committee’s next steps, but said “it’s clear” Congress will “need to speak with the former Secretary about her email arrangement and the decision to permanently delete those emails.”