WASHINGTON DC, USA – The top US Republican seeking Benghazi documents from Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, March 4, filed a subpoena demanding her emails, which the likely 2016 presidential candidate sent from a private account while secretary of state.
“The Select Committee on Benghazi today issued subpoenas for all communications of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton related to Libya,” committee communications director Jamal Ware said in a statement.
Earlier in the day the committee’s chairman, Trey Gowdy, said he would take “legal recourse” to obtain all emails the presumed Democratic frontrunner wrote while serving as top American diplomat.
Clinton has been under fire in what has emerged as a potentially damaging scandal over revelations that virtually her entire email correspondence while at the State Department was conducted on private email accounts and not an encrypted government server.
“Now we have to go to the source, which would be secretary Clinton herself,” Gowdy told reporters.
Ware said the committee also issued “preservation letters to Internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.”
Gowdy’s committee has received thousands of emails and other State Department documents connected to the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
Clinton had no federal government email address during her four years at State, and aides did not seek to preserve her emails on department servers at the time, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.
Congressman Elijah Cummings, the Benghazi panel’s ranking Democrat, expressed outrage that Gowdy might be conducting a “fishing expedition” against Clinton.
“I did not want to believe it, but everything I’ve seen so far has led me to believe that this is an effort to go after Hillary Clinton. Period,” Cummings said.
“I think that’s very, very unfortunate.”
Gowdy said there were three possible options for obtaining the data, including filing a subpoena or letting Clinton and her lawyers decide which emails are personal and can be omitted, and which are related to her position as top diplomat.
A third “unusual” option, he said, would be to engage a neutral arbiter, such as a retired judge, to do the deep dive on Clinton’s records and determine which should be handed over.
The State Department said that such a cull has already been done.
“Her staff has stated that anything related to her work has been given to the State Department,” deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Harf also downplayed the controversial aspect of Clinton using personal email, saying “it was not prohibited at the time (and) is not prohibited now.”
The White House declined to wade into the specifics of Clinton’s email habits, but stressed that federal employees are strongly encouraged to conduct email business on their government email accounts.
“To go to the process for how those (Clinton) emails were preserved or whether any were deleted,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “I would refer you to secretary Clinton’s team.” – Rappler.com
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