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|Martin Matishak||March 28th 2015|
The head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has erased all information from the personal email server she used while serving as the nationâ€™s top diplomat.
â€œWe learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server,â€ Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in a statement Friday.
He said while itâ€™s â€œnot clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department.â€
Last week, Gowdy sent a letter to Clintonâ€™s attorney asking that the email server be turned over to a third party in the hopes that an investigation could recover about 30,000 emails that her team deleted before turning the rest over to the State Department.
Gowdy said "it is clear Congress will need to speak with the former Secretary about her email arrangement and the decision to permanently delete those emails."
â€œNot only was the Secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server, ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,â€ Gowdy said.
Elijah Cummings (Md.), the panel's top Democrat, said the letter the select committee received from Clinton's attorney detailing what happened the server proves she has nothing to hide.
"This confirms what we all knew â€” that Secretary Clinton already produced her official records to the State Department, that she did not keep her personal emails, and that the Select Committee has already obtained her emails relating to the attacks in Benghazi," he said in a statement. "It is time for the Committee to stop this political charade and instead make these documents public and schedule Secretary Clinton's public testimony now." Clinton has maintained that the messages were personal in nature, but Gowdy and other Republicans have raised questions over whether she might have deleted messages that could damage her expected White House run in the process.
â€œI have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department," Clinton said during a press conference in New York earlier this month.
She said she had culled through more than 60,000 emails from her time at State and determined that roughly 30,000 of them were public records that should have been maintained. Clinton said the rest were messages related to private matters, such as her daughterâ€™s wedding or her yoga class schedule, and didn't need to be kept.
Gowdy said given Clintonâ€™s â€œunprecedented email arrangement with herself and her decision nearly two years after she left office to permanently deleteâ€ information, his panel would work with House leadership as it â€œconsiders next steps.â€
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Gowdy and other members of the Benghazi panel in the past have hinted that the full House could issues a subpoena for Clintonâ€™s server.
There were reports earlier this month that Boehner would announce an investigation into Clinton's use of a private email account, but that has yet to materialize. Meanwhile, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has suggested his panel could hold hearings over Clinton's use of private email, emphasizing his panel's jurisdiction over violations of the Federal Records Act.