Posted by Curt on 1 April, 2015 at 11:15 am. Be the first to comment!


Andrew C. McCarthy:

As one who was very pleased by the selection of Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) to chair the Benghazi Select Committee, I hate to seem like I’m haranguing him (see, e.g., here and here; but see also here). His investigative decisions, however, continue to be baffling.

The latest development in the Hillary Clinton e-mail saga is the disclosure by her private attorney, David Kendall, that she has deleted all e-mail from the private server on which she improperly conducted government business while she was secretary of state. (See Shannen Coffin’s latest legal analysis regarding laws potentially broken by Mrs. Clinton here.) In light of the obvious ramifications this has for the Benghazi investigation, Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren asked Chairman Gowdy what he intended to do about it. Gowdy responded:

We’re going to have a conversation with Secretary Clinton. I would hope that it would be a transcribed interview, which is private, it protects her privacy. It protects national-security interests. And it rebuts this notion that this is a political charade, which some Democrats suggest. Let’s have a private conversation about why you had your own server, why you didn’t return the records when you left the State Department. And why you decided to permanently delete them when you knew the congressional investigations were ongoing.

The Washington Examiner is now reporting that Gowdy’s committee has, in fact, “formally requested” that Mrs. Clinton appear for a private, transcribed interview — not compulsory public testimony. It is hard to say what is more disappointing: the chairman’s plan or the instincts and apparent motivation behind it.

There is now significant evidence that Mrs. Clinton has been obstructing congressional investigations into the Benghazi massacre for well over two years. As Chairman Gowdy also told Ms. Van Susteren, congressional committees put Mrs. Clinton and the State Department on notice in the weeks immediately following the terrorist attack on September 12, 2012, that all relevant records should be preserved. Clearly, Mrs. Clinton had such records and improperly withheld them: Even by her own very suspect account, she finally surrendered Benghazi-related e-mails to the State Department in late 2014 (from among the thousands of e-mails she concealed on her private server after leaving the government nearly two years earlier).

This disclosure about withheld information does not occur in a vacuum. We also know that a senior State Department official, Raymond Maxwell, has come forward to reveal that he interrupted a furtive Sunday morning document-mining session: specifically, he saw State Department personnel, under the direction of then–secretary Clinton’s top aides (including chief-of-staff Cheryl Mills), going through stacks of records that were to be turned over to State’s internal (Accountability Review Board) investigation of Benghazi. They did this, Maxwell says he was told, in order to “pull out anything that might put anybody” in the State Department’s upper ranks “in a bad light.”

As Chairman Gowdy also knows, the State Department under Secretary Clinton’s direction was neck-deep in the Obama administration’s purging of references to terrorism and al-Qaeda from the Benghazi “talking points” to be disclosed to the public. Furthermore, Gowdy has spent the last few weeks explaining that he was misled by the State Department into believing that it would be transparent and cooperative with him — to the point that he made what he has admitted was an error by failing to subpoena Mrs. Clinton’s private e-mails as soon as he learned about their existence.

In light of all these circumstances, it would be very poor judgment to take representations from Mrs. Clinton (in consultation with her lawyers) in a private conversation, even one that is transcribed.

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