OTR Interviews

Trey Gowdy: Hillary left more questions than answers

Congressman responds to former secretary of state's press conference on her email controversy, explains why he wants her before his Benghazi Select Committee. #HillaryEmails

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 10, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling it a "matter of convenience." She says she did not want to carry around two phones. Do you buy it?

In moments, Benghazi Select Committee chair, Trey Gowdy, goes ON THE RECORD.

But first, Congressman Gowdy is watching with you as Hillary Clinton gives her explanation for the use of an extra e-mail account for State Department business.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: There are four things I want the public to know. First, when I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal e-mail account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails instead of two. Looking back, it would have been better if I had simply used a second e-mail account and carried a second phone but, at the time, this didn't seem like an issue.

Second, the vast majority of my work e-mails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.

Third, after I left office, the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work-related e-mails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my e-mails that could possibly be work related, which totaled roughly 55,000 printed pages even though I knew that the State Department had the vast majority of them. We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related e-mails and deliver them to the State Department.

At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal e-mails, e-mails about planning Chelsea's wedding or my mother's funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends, as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes. No one wants their personal e-mails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy.

Fourth, I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related e-mails public for everyone to see. Again, looking back, it would have been better for me to use two separate phones and two e-mail accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn't worked out that way.

The server contains personal communications from my husband and me. And I believe I have met all of my responsibilities. And the server will remain private. And I think that the State Department will be able over time to release all of the records that were provided.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you think about this Republican idea of having an independent third party come in and examine your e-mails?

CLINTON: First of all, you'd have to ask that question to every single federal employee. The laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of state allowed me to use my e-mail for work. That is undisputed.

(CROSSTALK)

CLINTON: I would be happy to have someone talk to you about the rules. I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: And Benghazi Select Committee chair, Trey Gowdy, joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. TREY GOWDY, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON BENGHAZI: Good evening. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well.

That was most of what she had to say, but your response. Are you satisfied with what she said?

GOWDY: No, ma'am, if possible I have more questions than I did this time yesterday. Before she spoke -- we'll take them in the order in which she gave them to us, Greta. I don't know how the president is able to function if the convenience is the reason she used one phone. The president is the busiest person in the world and he manages to preserve all his e-mails. I don't think he has his own server. And Condi Rice didn't have her own server. I don't think Madeline Albright had her own server. So the convenience thing -- if she wants somebody to show her how to put two e-mail accounts on one phone, I'm happy to do it, because even I managed to figure how to do that, and I have two calendars on one phone. So that's not tough.

Greta, this is solely her doing. She is the reason you and I are having this conversation. We cannot simply take her word that whoever "we" is -- She said, "We went through and separated the public from the private," who is "we"?

(CROSSTALK)

GOWDY: Who gets to make that determination? The best thing to do -- I have no interest in her yoga routine, no interest in that. But I have every interest in public record, whether it's related to Libya or not. And I have no interest in her personal attorney determining what is a public record and what is not a public record. That should be done by a neutral detached person.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you a couple straight questions. There's no allegations she violated the law, is that right?

GOWDY: I am not an expert in any area of the law, and certainly not in the Federal Records Act, so I would not be the person to ask.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you intend to do in light of her statement today? What's your plan tonight?

GOWDY: Greta, we don't have any choice. We're going to have to talk to her about the e-mail arrangement, the server, the security. I need to know who "we" is. She said, "We made this determination." If I heard her correctly, she's destroyed the e-mails that she seemed personal. There are lots of e-mails, Greta, as you know, that are a mixture of personal and public. How did she reconcile that? We're going to have to talk to her because of the decision she made more than once, and then again, we have four murdered Americans. We need to talk to her in public about the before, during and after of Benghazi. But because of her decision making, we now need to visit with her at least twice so we can figure out what arrangement she had with herself about public records.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has she resisted any effort? Have you tried to speak to her? Has she said no at any time and has she been cooperative?

GOWDY: She was cooperative up to a point. Just like the State Department was cooperative. They were really cooperative, except they never told us this arrangement existed and they never told us that they didn't have her e-mails. So there's a difference between cooperative and being truthful. The State Department talked to us all we wanted to talk to them. They just never got around to telling us the truth. Most of our communication has been between our counsel and her counsel.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you suggesting she was untruthful or the State Department has been untruthful? I just want to make sure --

(CROSSTALK)

GOWDY: No, no. Yeah, the State Department. I have never had a conversation with Secretary Clinton.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. All right.

GOWDY: The State Department.

VAN SUSTEREN: And in terms of an independent third person, she didn't answer that question that was asked from her. I don't think at least when listening to that interview. Who would you recommend? What kind of person are you looking for to independently go through the e-mails to see whether or not they are private or personal? Who would be someone you would look to do?

GOWDY: Someone who just solely calls balls and strikes, a retired federal judge, a retired archivist, an inspector general, a woman or a man with no political ideation, whatsoever, just someone we can all say, you know what, that's a trust worthy person to determine -- if this is really about yoga, I have no interest in seeing it, or the bridesmaids dresses or the wedding cake, I don't care about that. But if it's a public record, you should access to it, I should have access to it. And, Greta, she doesn't get to make that call. We don't grade our own papers in life. We don't call fouls on ourselves in the NBA. We don't call holding on ourselves in football. She doesn't get to make that call.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Chairman, nice to talk to you, sir. Thank you very much.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.