Hillary Clinton's lawyer asserted to the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Wednesday that Clinton has answered every question about her use of personal email while she led the State Department, a stance that Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) immediately rejected.
David Kendall wrote to Gowdy on behalf of Clinton to say his client is hoping to testify before the committee soon to discuss the 2012 attack in Benghazi and her use of personal email. But while Kendall said Clinton would be "happy" to answer questions about email, he insisted that all of those questions have been answered.
Hillary Clinton's lawyer says every question about her use of personal emails has been answered, but Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who chairs the House Select Committee on Benghazi, immediately disagreed. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
"I respectfully submit that these questions have already been publicly answered by Secretary Clinton," he wrote.
Democrats on the committee posted Kendall's letter, and soon afterwards, Gowdy released a statement saying if anything, Clinton's attempt to clarify how and why she deleted 30,000 emails on her own has only created more confusion.
"I appreciate Mr. Kendall's timely response to our letter but respectfully disagree with his assertion former Secretary Clinton has answered all questions surrounding the unusual email arrangement she had with herself," he said. "The press conference held by former Secretary Clinton and the subsequent efforts at clarifying her remarks served to create more questions than answers."
As of this week, there was no schedule for when Clinton might appear before the Benghazi committee. But Gowdy said he would release a more detailed comment on Thursday outlining a "reasonable path forward" on Clinton's anticipated testimony.
Gowdy has indicated that he only wants to call Clinton to testify once he has as much information as possible. As an example of why this is important, he noted in his reply Wednesday that if he called her in mid-2014, the committee would not have been aware of any of the 300 emails from her personal account that it received late last year.
Kendall's letter included an annex of several pages that include a set of questions and answers about Clinton's use of personal email. Those questions and answers reiterate that the State Department allowed her to use her own email system for work.
Republicans have argued that a third party should have gone over her emails to determine which were work-related and which were personal, before she deleted thousands of those emails. The questions and answers provided by Clinton note that under the Federal Records Act, it's up to officials themselves to determine what is a work email and what is a personal email.
But to Gowdy's point, the questions and answers seem to self-assert facts that Gowdy has said should have been confirmed. For example, the answer to the question of whether Clinton sent or received classified material on her email is, "No. A separate, closed system was used by the department for the sole purpose of handling classified communications which was designed to prevent such information from being transmitted anywhere other than within that system, including to outside email accounts."
On the question of whether her personal system was ever hacked, the answer asserts, "No, there is no evidence there was ever a breach."
And when asked if there was ever an unauthorized intrusion into her email, the answer again is, "no."
Earlier today, it became clear that the Benghazi Committee would likely release its final report in late 2016, just when Clinton is hoping to make her final run at the White House. Democrats have said the timing of the report seems aimed at hurting Clinton's chances at winning in 2016, but Republicans have blamed Clinton and the Obama administration for stonewalling their investigation.
Read Kendall's letter here: