Hillary Clinton last week was forced to call the GOP’s bluff that she’s actually turned over all work-related from her personal email server.
Responding to an order by a federal judge, Clinton and two top aides certified -- under the penalty of perjury -- that the Democratic presidential frontrunner had provided the State Department with all government records in their possession, according to a State spokesman.
A signed copy of the legal document arrived at Clinton’s former agency on Saturday, he said.
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The move is the latest development in a freedom of information lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, but it will no doubt bleed over into the congressional investigation of the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and the 2016 presidential election.
House Select Committee on Benghazi chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC), whose panel uncovered Clinton’s use of a private server earlier this year, has demanded consistently that lawmakers receive all of the correspondence routed through the system.
His case received a boost when State admitted it did not have some or all of around 15 emails from longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, though the messages didn’t relate to the siege that killed four Americans.
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Gowdy has repeatedly called on Clinton to give the server, which her attorneys claim has been wiped clean of information, to an independent third party for forensic analysis to determine if anything can be recovered. The former federal prosecutor will likely point to the federal certification should a previously undiscovered message crop up in the weeks prior to Clinton’s appearance before the select committee on October 22.
Gowdy and other top Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner (OH) would jump to take advantage of such a slip-up to further portray Clinton as dishonest and undeserving of the White House. The newly added legal aspect could prompt them to ramp up their attacks in new ways, too, including calling for court action against Clinton.
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Meanwhile, Clinton can use the certification as a kind of firewall against GOP accusations that she hasn’t cooperated with their investigation into her tenure at State and try to cut off the steady drip of bad news surrounding her emails.
Clinton has been forced to address the controversy several times on the campaign trail since she launched her bid in April and has clearly begun to take a toll on her poll numbers, with her support slipping in several crucial swing states.