- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2015

The chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi said he might take former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at her word if she swears under oath that she’s turned over any relevant documents he’s seeking.

“If she were, under some theory, able to say, ‘yes, I can promise you under penalty of perjury you have every single document you’re entitled to,’ that would probably shut off that line of inquiry,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, told USA Today’s “Capital Download.”

“There may be other questions about the security of the server or why you gave this person clintonemail dot com address but you didn’t give this person — those are all separate questions,” he added. “I just need to make sure that the public record is complete.”

Mrs. Clinton said in March that she exclusively used a private email address while serving as the nation’s top diplomat largely out of convenience. She turned over about 30,000 emails she deemed work-related to the State Department in late 2014 — nearly two years after leaving office — and deleted the rest, also wiping clean a private server and declining to turn the server over to an independent party.

“I don’t know how she can give me that assurance if she didn’t go through the emails, but if she can, then it’ll be a short conversation,” Mr. Gowdy said.

But he’d ask her how she knows that, because her lawyer went through the emails, he said.

“So your lawyer has a duty to you. Who with a duty to the public has been through your emails?” he said.

Mr. Gowdy wants Mrs. Clinton to appear twice before his committee, once during the week of May 18.

Mr. Gowdy said it’s “absolutely” possible the panel’s report will come out and conclude Mrs. Clinton did nothing wrong and that he doesn’t know why Democrats are making an assumption that the report will be a negative for her.

Democrats have accused Republicans of using the panel as a way to attack Mrs. Clinton, their likely 2016 presidential nominee, who was secretary of state during the time of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.

“In a perfect world, everything would be resolved before New Year’s Day 2016, but as we learned last week, I cannot control the pace with which other people comply with my requests for documents, and there are outstanding requests to the Department of Defense, the White House, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice,” Mr. Gowdy said.

“If John Kerry and the president decided, ‘you know what? That little fellow from South Carolina’s got a good idea — let’s get this thing wrapped up in 2015’ — they could do it in a phone call,” he said.

Mr. Gowdy said the panel recently completed interviews with five State Department officials who were on the ground in Benghazi — only one of whom had been interviewed in a congressional inquiry.

“That is incredibly newsworthy,” he said. “The narrative, at least for those who opposed the creation of our committee, was ‘every other committee has looked at everything; there’s nothing new under the sun; this is purely political.’ How could you possibly have a thorough investigation [into] Benghazi if you did not even bother to interview the eyewitnesses who were on the ground the night the attacks happened?”

He said he’d also like to speak with National Security Adviser Susan Rice. In the days immediately following the attack, Ms. Rice, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the evidence at the time suggested the attack arose out of a demonstration against an anti-Muslim video — an explanation that has since been debunked.


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