- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Republican House chairman on Thursday said he will move to hold in contempt the Colorado-based firm that Hillary Clinton hired to help run the private email server she used as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said Platte River Networks is leaving him “no choice” but to convene the committee for contempt proceedings before the year, after it refused to comply with subpoenas related to its probe of the server and efforts to delete thousands of Clinton emails that Congress was seeking.

“The American people have a right to know, what, if any, steps former Secretary Clinton took to secure her communications with the president and others in government,” Mr. Smith said in a prepared statement. “She and others are entrusted to protect out nation’s secrets and not jeopardize national security.”

Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, kept a server at her home in New York for all of her State Department email business, including handling classified messages, and she did not turn over the documents when she left the department in early 2013, as required by law.

FBI Director James B. Comey declined to recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified information, though he did say that Mrs. Clinton and her aides were extremely careless with the setup.

Republican investigators panned his decision and held a series of hearings on Mrs. Clinton’s decisions and the related probe.

Mr. Smith said Platte River Networks, which set up and maintained Mrs. Clinton’s server has refused to supply subpoenaed documents to his committee even though two companies — Datto, which backed up the server, and SECNAP, which secured it — did comply.

The company did not respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon on Mr. Smith’s decision.

House lawmakers are particularly concerned about the actions of Platte River employee Paul Combetta, who used a program called BleachBit to delete thousands of Mrs. Clinton’s emails after a New York Times story in early 2015 revealed the existence of her private server.

Republicans investigating the 2012 terror attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had ordered the company to preserve those emails.

Mr. Comey said the bureau offered immunity to Mr. Combetta to try to find out whether he was ordered to be part of a cover-up and found no evidence to back that up.

“The department granted immunity to the one fellow who erased the stuff so that we could figure out, did anybody tell you to do this, did anybody ask you do this, to see if we could make an obstruction case — we couldn’t,” he told Congress last month.

Yet Mr. Smith said recently acquired emails suggest that Mrs. Clinton’s counsel, David Kendall, is “coordinating and approving” what materials are handed over to his committee.

“We will not limit our investigation or allow these attorneys to detect the scope of lawfully issued subpoenas,” he said.

Last month, Mr. Combetta involved his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

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