WASHINGTON — The chairman of a House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi on Friday formally requested that Hillary Rodham Clinton turn over her email server for an independent review.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent a letter requesting that Clinton turn over to the State Department inspector general or other third party the server she used for official State Department business. The aim would be to have a third party determine what records should be made public.
“Though Secretary Clinton alone is responsible for causing this issue, she alone does not get to determine its outcome,” Gowdy said in a statement. His request to turn over the server is “in the interest of transparency for the American people,” Gowdy said of the former secretary of state, who is a likely a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination next year.
Clinton has pledged that all her work-related email would be made public, but acknowledged deleting thousands of messages related to personal matters. Clinton has said the server “will remain private.”
House Speaker John Boehner has not ruled out a vote in the full House to force Clinton to turn over the server if she declines to make it available.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department said that it shouldn’t be required under the Freedom of Information Act to provide emails from Clinton that were sent from or received by her private account. Government lawyers said in a filing to a federal appeals court late Thursday that the FOIA law “creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control.”
The Justice Department acted on the State Department’s behalf in a lawsuit by Freedom Watch, a conservative group led by Larry Klayman, who has filed dozens of lawsuits against the Clintons in the past. Klayman asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to hold Hillary Clinton and top aide Cheryl Mills in criminal contempt in relation to its request for documents.
Klayman says the court also should issue a subpoena for the seizure and production of the computer file server that was used to store and process Clinton’s emails. The Justice Department said the requests should be denied.