Trey Gowdy: I ‘lack the authority’ to subpoena Hillary Clinton’s server – Politico
The chairman of the House committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attacks said Wednesday that his panel lacks the authority to subpoena Hillary Clinton’s private server.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said that while the House has authority to issue a subpoena for the server on which the former secretary of state stored her personal and professional emails, the Select Committee on Benghazi has a “more limited jurisdiction.”
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“For my committee, which has a more limited jurisdiction, we, No. 1, lack the authority under House rules to subpoena the server,” Gowdy said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The House as an entity, it’s an open legal question, but most experts believe that the House could subpoena that server.”
Gowdy has been given the unofficial task of probing Clinton’s private email use, but if she declines to appear before the panel to answer questions in a private, transcribed interview, it would be up to Speaker John Boehner — not the Benghazi committee — to take action against Clinton. Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, asked Clinton earlier this month to answer questions on her email use before May 1.
A spokesperson for the committee told POLITICO Wednesday that Clinton and her lawyer, David Kendall, have not yet answered that request. Gowdy wants at least two interviews with Clinton. One would be a private interview on her use of a personal email address for official business during her tenure at the State Department, and the other a public hearing on the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Clinton has previously said she would appear before the committee but has pressed for a single, public hearing.
But Gowdy said he wants a private interview so that Clinton could assure him under oath that she had turned over all relevant documents on Libya.
“I’d be a really lousy lawyer if I use my one opportunity to talk to a witness before I had all the emails and other documents. So until somebody can make an assurance to me that we have everything that we are entitled to, and by that I mean relevant material to Libya and Benghazi, I can’t schedule her [public] appearance,” Gowdy said. “To me, a condition precedent of having a conversation about Benghazi is us discussing her email arrangement [in private].”
Gowdy also explained that in a private session with Clinton, he would have more time to ask questions. “If it’s public, everyone gets to see it, but you’re limited to 10 minutes per member,” he said. “If it’s private, no one gets to see it, but there’s no time limit.”
He added that during a visit to CIA headquarters on Tuesday, the committee was given documents on Benghazi that have never been made available to the half-dozen other congressional committees that investigated the terrorist attacks.
The committee is also seeking electronic recordings of conversations Clinton has with State Department officials, including Gregory Hicks, a former deputy chief of mission in Libya, the night of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks, from the National Security Agency.
“There are lots of things that exist that no other committee of Congress either had access to or asked for,” Gowdy said.
Kendall has already said Clinton will not turn over the server, which was stored at her New York residence, to a neutral arbiter — a request Gowdy made when The New York Times first reported about the email and server use in March. Clinton admitted in a news conference last month that she deleted thousands of personal emails from the sever — a declaration that has become a sticking point with congressional Republicans who want to know whether the deleted emails contained any information on the Benghazi attacks.
Experts have said those emails could be retrieved if the server were investigated, depending on how the deletions were carried out.
In the interview, Gowdy reiterated that he planned to interview a number of high-profile Clinton staffers on the attacks, including Cheryl Mills, the chief of staff at the State Department under Clinton; Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide; Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of the Clintons whose hacked emails to Hillary Clinton first revealed the existence of her private account.
“[Blumenthal] is on the list, and I’ll tell you, because I think your listeners would be interested in the chronology. We are taking the witnesses from the Department of State and CIA whose identities need to be preserved, we’re doing them first, and those are transcribed interviews,” Gowdy said. “Then we are moving into the people who are more well known, the Susan Rices, the Ben Rhodes, and yes, you can include Sidney Blumenthal.”
Gowdy said that Mills would be asked questions on both the Benghazi attacks and Clinton’s emails.