Gowdy: 'There Are Gaps of Months and Months' in Emails Turned Over by Clinton

Susan Jones | March 9, 2015 | 5:47am EDT
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In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the special House committee that is investigating the attack on Americans in Benghazi, says the panel has received more than 800 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's private email account, but "we don't have all of them."

"There are gaps of months and months and months," Gowdy told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

As an example, he mentioned one specific trip Clinton took in October 2011: "And if you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand -- we have no e-mails from that day. In fact, we have no e-mails from that trip.

"So, it strains credibility to believe that if you're on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy that there's not a single document that has been turned over to Congress. So, there are huge gaps."

Gowdy also said it's not up to Clinton herself to decide what emails sent from her private account and stored on her own server should be part of the public record.

The U.S. State Department says it will review 55,000 emails sent from Clinton's private email account to see which ones can be made public and which ones fall under the subpoena issued by Gowdy's committee.

"Frankly, I have lost confidence in the State Department to make that determination," Gowdy said. "They're the ones who allowed this arrangement. They're the ones who did nothing abut this arrangement until they got a request from our committee. Frankly, I think your viewers are entitled to a neutral, detached arbiter to determine what's a public record, first of all, because that never should have left the custody of the government, and, secondarily, what is our committee entitled to?

"We're not entitled to everything. I don't want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi."

Asked about the focus of the Benghazi investigation, Gowdy said their are three main areas:

"[W]hy did we have a facility that didn't meet any security specification whatsoever? They had a separate classification for our facility at Benghazi. Why? So, why, in spite of the escalating violence, did we lower our security profile, instead of raise it? So that's the before.

"The during -- our military response: Where were our assets located? After all, this (was) the anniversary of 9/11. So, if you are better prepared to defend the embassy in Paris than you are the embassy in Tripoli, I think my fellow citizens want to know that.

"And then, thirdly, the aftermath. I continue to naively believe that people have a right to expect their government to tell them the truth in the aftermath of a tragedy. And we know that the video was not connected. And we know it was not a spontaneous protest. What we don't know is how early the administration knew those two narratives were false and whether--"

"All right," host Bob Schieffer interrupted. "Congressman, I'm going to have to stop you there. We have just run out of time. But thank you."

Earlier in the interview, Gowdy said his committee will not release any of the Clinton emails she has sent to his committee -- because "serious investigations don't leak and they don't make selective releases."

He said it would be unfair to Clinton and to all Americans to selectively release information.

But, he added, if Clinton wants to release all her emails, as she said she does, "she's welcome to do that."

Appearing on the same program, Sen. Chuck Schumer defended Clinton as "an upstanding public service who has "done more than any other secretary of state."

"Look, Hillary Clinton followed the law," Schumer said. "And I know that people will keep going, 'Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.'

"Well, there have been several investigations by the committees and others. They have come up with zeros, and they just keep at it. I think, at the end of the day, people will -- this will just be regarded as a slight hiccup, small bump in the road six months from now."

Schumer said the law requires government officials to preserve their work emails, "and no one has alleged that any of them were deleted."

He said Clinton, as a national figure and potential presidential candidate, is always going to be a target:

"So you know, this is politics. This is how it is. But I don't think the public is going to pay much attention to this. They care much more about middle-class people, who is going to get their wages going up again, who is going to create good-paying jobs. These are the issues that matter to people, despite the little storm we have in Washington right now."

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