It just gets better and better. Hillary Clinton has released a “FAQ” about her emails and her destruction of a significant fraction of them. Byron York, writing in The Washington Examiner, had some thoughts about them.
One of the FAQ questions Clinton posed concerned whether any of her emails were under subpoena at the time they were destroyed.
The emails that Clinton chose not to keep were personal emails—they were not federal records or even work-related—and therefore were not subject to any preservation obligation under the Federal Records Act or any request. Nor would they have been subject to the subpoena—which did not exist at the time….
The subpoena to which Clinton referred was issued March 4, 2015, after the committee learned that Clinton kept her emails on a separate, secret server. Clinton seems to be confirming that she destroyed her email records (and all backups, according to her attorney) in early December, which would be three months before the Benghazi committee subpoena. So Clinton’s argument is: there’s no way I was subject to a subpoena because I destroyed everything before the subpoena was issued.
Putting aside the question of whether Clinton’s emails were already covered by an earlier subpoena—Benghazi committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy [R, SC] maintains they were—there is still the question of whether Clinton, all along, had a legal obligation to preserve her emails and hand them over to Congress. And on that question, there seems no doubt Clinton was legally required to do just that—and despite that obligation destroyed the emails anyway.
On September 20, 2012, nine days after the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Clinton asking for “all information…related to the attack on the consulate.” The letter told Clinton, “In complying with this request, you are required to produce all responsive documents that are in your possession, custody, or control, whether held by you or your past or present agents, employees, and representatives acting on your behalf.” The letter specified emails as documents covered by the request.
The letter was clear. In response, the State Department produced not a single email to or from Clinton. The world now knows, of course, that Clinton did in fact possess emails covered by the request and did not turn them over.
Even if Clinton’s argument that her personal emails were somehow not covered by the Letter, the subpoena, or the Federal Records Act and related legislation holds water, how can we know Clinton destroyed only personal correspondence, correspondence that “were not federal records or even work-related” as she claims? We can’t know. Clinton destroyed the evidence.
It’s all the more important that Congress lay hands on her servers, hard drives, and other storage media, and do a proper forensic investigation.