- - Thursday, July 9, 2015

New questions emerged about Hillary Clinton’s honesty this week over her bogus claim that she had never been served with a subpoena and had followed the government’s rules on her emails.

But Rep. Trey Gowdy, the steely chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, released a copy of the March 4 subpoena Wednesday and said her attorney had confirmed that on March 27.

The latest controversy show no signs of going away — and, by her own admission this week, are the reasons why her polls have fallen in the months since the email scandal broke.

A new poll shows her support in Iowa’s caucuses has fallen close to 50 percent, while her rivals were collectively drawing 44 percent.

The battle over the secret, personal email server she used for all her official and personal messages while secretary of state was reignited this week in an interview with CNN reporter Brianna Keilar.

In a tense, combative exchange, Ms. Keilar asked Mrs. Clinton about her decision to delete 33,000 emails she deemed personal — after being subpoenaed — turning the rest over to the State Department, and whether any of her predecessors had followed the same practice.

“You know, you’re starting with so many assumptions,” Mrs. Clinton replied testily. “I’ve never had a subpoena, there’s nothing — again, let’s take a deep breath here.”

“Now I didn’t have to turn over anything,” she said. “I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.”

But her claim that she had “never had a subpoena” was contradicted by Mr. Gowdy, who said she had been sent one and released its contents to the news media this week.

“The committee has issued several subpoenas, but I have not sought to make them public,” he said.

“I would not make this one public now, but after Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the committee did not subpoena her, I have no choice in order to correct the inaccuracy,” he added.

Mr. Gowdy said the committee “immediately subpoenaed Clinton personally after learning the full extent of her unusual email arrangement with herself.”

Mrs. Clinton claimed her emails remained within the State Department’s archival “system,” but he said this wasn’t true — explaining “that State did not maintain custody of her records and only Secretary Clinton herself had her records when Congress first requested them.”

Mrs. Clinton, however, insisted in the interview that “I didn’t have to turn over anything,” arguing that “Everything I did was permitted. There was no law no regulation.”

In fact, under the 2009 National Archive requirements and federal records law, she had to turn over all of her State Department emails before she left the government.

Though Mrs. Clinton erased what she still maintains were only her personal emails, we’ll never know whether some of those emails dealt with the murder of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi and its aftermath.

That, after all, is at the nub of the House committee’s continuing investigation and its demands for all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and why the first explanation coming out of the State Department said it was just a protest that simply got out of hand.

It was only after skeptical GOP lawmakers, such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, raised troubling questions that it was revealed to be a well-planned terrorist attack, and that the administration had turned a deaf ear to our ambassador’s pleas to beef up security at the compound.

The story behind this sordid affair is about Mrs. Clinton’s belief that she doesn’t have to follow the rules. That’s for the little people, but not for her. Previous secretaries of state used the department’s email system and their messages stayed with the system — not Mrs. Clinton.

She’s notoriously known for her obsessive secrecy, is master at crafting a political coverup and, if it’s necessary launching a powerful counter-offensive.

Go back to the Clintons’ scandal-plagued White House years, and a two-year search for Hillary’s supposedly long-lost Rose law firm billing records that were mysteriously discovered by a White House aide in a third-floor storage room.

These are tricky people who know the art of subterfuge and dodging difficult issues they don’t want to address.

But this time, Hillary is dealing with Mr. Gowdy, a wily counter-puncher who isn’t buying her shady, double-dealing explanations about what she did or didn’t do.

She had “a statutory duty to preserve records from her entire time in office, and she had a legal duty to cooperate with and tell the truth to congressional investigators and requesting her records going back to September of 2012,” Mr. Gowdy said.

“Moreover, the timing of the Secretary’s decision to delete and attempt to permanently destroy emails is curious at best,” he added.

“By her own admission, she did not delete or destroy emails until the fall of 2014, well after this committee had been actively engaged in securing her emails from the Department of State,” he said.

“For 20 months, it was not too burdensome or cumbersome for the Secretary to house records on her personal server, but mysteriously in the fall of 2014 she decided to delete and attempt to permanently destroy those same records.”

The voters aren’t buying Mrs. Clinton’s story and we’re seeing the reason for that in the polls. A new CNN/WMUR New Hampshire Primary Poll now shows her clinging to a fragile eight-point edge over Bernard Sanders — 43 percent to 35 percent.

Her candidacy is starting to unravel, a victim of her own deceit and dishonesty.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.

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