Trey Gowdy, Benghazi Panel Chairman, Seeks Hillary Clinton’s E-Mail Server

An aide to Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton points to a journalist during a question-and-answer session after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations March 10, 2015 in New York City.

Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The Republican chairman of a U.S. House panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks is asking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to decide by April 3 whether to turn over her private e-mail server to an outside arbiter.

Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said in a letter to Clinton’s lawyer that if she refuses, he will ask House Speaker John Boehner to “use the full powers of the House” to obtain the server.

Gowdy said in the letter dated March 19 that Clinton should give her e-mail server to the State Department inspector general or another independent arbiter to decide which messages are work-related and which are personal.

Gowdy is examining the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The disclosure that Clinton used a private e-mail address and a home server while secretary of state came as Clinton is preparing to announce whether she’ll seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

David Kendall, Clinton’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and phone call seeking comment about whether Clinton would comply with the request.

Her office said March 10 she gave 30,490 work-related e-mails to the State Department, which is reviewing them for public release. Another 32,830 e-mails, which Clinton said involved personal matters such as wedding planning or yoga routines, were deleted.

April 3

Gowdy’s letter to Kendall said he should respond by April 3 on whether Clinton will comply with the request.

Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has said he would prefer not to subpoena Clinton. His panel is also looking into the issue of her communications.

Gowdy’s committee has previously subpoenaed the State Department for materials and sent letters asking Internet service providers to preserve any records they may have on Benghazi.

Gowdy has said his panel lacks the authority to issue a subpoena for the Clinton server. He said March 15 on “Fox News Sunday” that the full House may need to go to court to get access to the server.

’Spark a Fight’

Republican demands for Clinton’s server “seem designed to spark a fight with a potential presidential candidate,” Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight panel, said in a statement.

Cummings said that when Democrats controlled the oversight committee, they did not seek access to private servers when investigating e-mails sent by officials in President George W. Bush’s administration from accounts at the Republican National Committee.

Democrats “worked with RNC attorneys to develop search terms and then relied on them to produce those documents that were responsive,” said Cummings. “We should follow this responsible approach.”

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