The chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Trey Gowdy (R-SC), has asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before his committee twice during the weeks of May 18 and June 18, according to a report at NBC News.
One of the major topics of discussion will be Clinton’s off-the-books email server, which NBC naturally describes as “a centerpiece of Republican attacks on the 2016 presidential candidate.” When a Democrat breaks the law, the story is always about the Republicans daring to talk about it, transforming even the most obvious malfeasance into a political food fight.
Also unsurprisingly, Democrats complained that Gowdy was dragging out the Benghazi investigation to influence the 2016 presidential election, conveniently forgetting about Hillary violating transparency laws and administration policies to hide her official correspondence from Congressional oversight and Freedom of Information Act requests.
Gowdy mentions this at the very beginning of his letter to Clinton’s legal representation: “I have consistently, and without exception, said the Committee would schedule the Secretary’s appearance within 30 days of receiving assurance all documents needed to have a constructive conversation with the Secretary are in the Committee’s possession,” Gowdy writes. “To date, no one has been willing to make that assurance, and the reasons for that are manifest below.”
Gowdy goes on to note that when Clinton’s time was first offered to the committee in November 2014, it was “in possession of merely eight (8) of Secretary Clinton’s emails, out of a now known universe of at least 300 emails.”
“Furthermore, the Department of State has made several thousand pages of documents available to the Committee after November of 2014, including commitments to produce more even just this week, two years after Congress first tried to secure documents related to the Accountability Review Board,” Gowdy continues. “In fact, the Department of State has admitted Congress still does not have the full universe of documents related to its request.”
The chairman also observes that if he had settled for a November 2014 appearance from Clinton, the hearing would have taken place before Clinton surrendered any of the correspondence she’s been hiding for years and before it became clear that all of her official email was routed through her personal server.
“Simply put, thank goodness the Committee did not schedule Secretary Clinton’s appearance when some asked us to, or else that hearing would have been woefully and now obviously premature,” Gowdy stated. Congressional Democrats interested in complaining about the late date of Clinton’s testimony should therefore direct their puerile whining to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Gowdy’s letter explains — as if any adult human being needs this explained to them — that it’s impossible for his committee to conduct satisfactory hearings if crucial documentation is hidden from them. Clinton tried to brush Congress off by complaining that public discussion of her email server could make public details of its security that should be kept secret (as if every foreign intelligence agency worth its salt hasn’t already penetrated the shoddy security of her system), but Gowdy offered to make that portion of her conversation with his committee private, to address security concerns.
The letter concludes with a list of 136 sample questions the House Select Committee intends to ask Clinton about her private email server — when and why did she decide to set it up, was it based on suggestions from any other party, who set it up, how was it funded, and so forth. There are also pointed questions about the security of the mail server, and whether any intrusions were ever detected by its administrators. The Committee also has some tough questions about why Clinton waited so long to return any of her official records to the State Department, and why she deleted so much of her email.
The full letter from Rep. Gowdy and the attached list of sample questions can be viewed here.