The revelation that during her years as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal email server for her official business continued to reverberate this weekend. Now the head of the House Select Committee investigating the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi has said he is hopeful that some major “gaps” in the record can be filled.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) had previously called the Clinton personal email revelation “troubling.” On CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, he said that, so far, his committee has received just over 300 of Clinton’s emails related to Benghazi. He says there are “huge gaps” in time during which the Department of State has apparently determined no emails responsive to the committee’s investigation were sent or received.
“There are gaps of months and months and months,” Gowdy said Sunday. “If you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya – she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand – we have no emails from that day. In fact, we have no emails from that trip.”
He added, “It strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy, that there’s not a single document that’s been turned over to Congress.”
Gowdy restated the concern – expressed by many – that because Clinton kept her email on a private server that was in her personal custody, she became the de facto arbiter of which of her emails constitute public documents.
“It’s not up to Hillary Clinton to decide what’s a public document and what’s not,” Gowdy said.
Last year, in response to requests by the State Department to several former secretaries, Clinton handed over 55,000 pages of emails that she sent and received during her time in office. The State Department is currently processing them and, presumably, any that are responsive to the select committee’s requests will be provided.
Gowdy does not feel that’s enough, however.
“Frankly, I’ve lost confidence in the State Department to make that determination,” he said. He called for a “neutral, detached arbiter to determine what’s a public record … because that never should have left the custody of the government” and for that independent arbiter to assess what documents his committee is entitled to.
Republicans aren’t the only ones concerned about how the Clinton email revelations are being handled. On Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called on Hillary Clinton to “step up and come out” with a complete explanation of why she elected to use a private email system rather than the State Department’s internal system, which automatically archives messages.
“What I would like is for her to come forward and say just what the situation is, because she is the preeminent political figure right now," Feinstein said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“I think from this point on the silence is going to hurt her,” added Feinstein.
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