The congressional committee dedicated investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya believes Hillary Clinton engaged in a “scheme to conceal” her email while she was secretary of state.
Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) issued a statement on Wednesday responding to a tweet Clinton sent the prior night. Clinton wrote that she wants “the public to see” her email and asked the State Department to release her messages. Ware dismissed this and said it “does not answer questions” about Clinton’s email “scheme.”
Ware’s response highlighted the fact Clinton’s aides reviewed her emails and decided which ones should be turned over to the State Department.
“As Chairman Gowdy noted, former Secretary Clinton has left herself in the unique position of being the only one to determine what records the American people are entitled to,” Ware said. “This has significant negative implications for transparency and government oversight, as well as for media and others who have a legitimate interest in understanding the Secretary’s time in office.”
On Wednesday, the committee issued a subpoena in an effort to examine Clinton’s email use. The subpoena came after a New York Times article was published on Monday that detailed how Clinton exclusively used a personal address rather than a governmental one during her time leading the State Department.
According to the Times, Clinton’s use of a private address for official business could have violated federal rules. Clinton’s team has disputed this and argued her use of personal email went above and beyond regulatory requirements.
The Benghazi committee has long sought to obtain Clinton’s emails. Gowdy has said he will refrain from calling Clinton to testify before the committee until it is able to examine her email. Republicans have been critical of the State Departments handling of the Benghazi attacks, which left four Americans dead including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
In recent months, Clinton’s team turned over about 55,000 printed copies of her emails to the State Department in response to a request the department has described as part of an effort to update its recordkeeping. Ware’s statement suggested the fact Clinton’s aides decided which emails to hand in raises questions about the “integrity” of the records, which necessitated the committee’s subpoena.
“The former Secretary’s tweet does not answer questions about why this was not done when she left office, the integrity of the emails while she controlled them, the scheme to conceal them, or the failure to provide them in logical course,” Ware said. “Chairman [Gowdy] has said the former secretary is welcome to and should release all of her emails, but legitimate investigations do not consider partial records. And that is the point of the subpoena issued yesterday by the Benghazi Committee.”
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