Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that he will press former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her personal emails related to the 2012 attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
Gowdy spoke to reporters less than a day after the New York Times reported that Clinton only used her personal email accounts to do business while secretary, and that several hundred of these emails were recently turned over to Gowdy’s Select Committee on Benghazi.
But while the committee has seen those emails, Gowdy said Clinton still controls her own personal email accounts, and even the State Department can’t verify that it has seen all of her emails related to Benghazi.
“[T]hey cannot certify that they have produced all of former Secretary Clinton’s emails because they do not have them or control them,” Gowdy said in a prepared statement for reporters.
“The Department of State is relying on Secretary Clinton herself and her attorneys and advisors to tell us, to tell you, what emails they think are to be preserved,” he added in that statement. Gowdy said it’s “nothing short of incredible” that any top official would use personal emails while in office, especially given past concerns from both parties about how that practice makes it hard to keep a record of their tenure in office.
With State unable to say it has all of Clinton’s emails, Gowdy said his committee has no choice but to press Clinton to turn over those emails.
“The State Department does not have all of the former Secretary’s emails on its servers, only she has the complete record,” his statement said. “And the committee is going to have to go to her, her lawyers and her email providers to ensure we have access to everything the American people are entitled to know.”
Gowdy said he’s “greatly troubled” by the problems presented by Clinton’s use of personal email, such as keeping a record and ensuring evidence is available to congressional investigators. “I am also greatly concerned about the national security implications of former Secretary Clinton exclusively using personal email accounts for the conduct of official U.S. foreign policy,” he said.
He said Clinton seems to have used more than one personal email account, and indicated his committee would be looking for all Benghazi-related emails from all of her accounts.
Gowdy credited his committee’s work with uncovering Clinton’s use of personal email accounts, even though the State Department has said it’s own workers were trying to collect those emails. Gowdy also said his committee discovered her use of personal email last summer, but never revealed it, and said that shows he’s doing his best not to use the press to sensationalize the investigation.
“The fact the Benghazi Committee was able to uncover this previously unknown, and before today unreported, information speaks to the need for the Benghazi committee,” he said. “The fact that fact the committee does not rush to trumpet every discovery we make speaks to my personal commitment to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attack.”
Gowdy has said several times that he wants Clinton to testify at his committee, but he said he does not want that to happen until he has all information possible from her.