OTR Interviews

Now that Hillary Clinton's server is 'wiped clean,' what's next for the Benghazi Select Committee?

Benghazi Select Committee Chair Trey Gowdy more than ever wants Hillary Clinton to testify

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 30, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Benghazi Select Committee Chair Trey Gowdy joins us. Good evening, sir.

TREY GOWDY, HOUSE SELECT BENGHAZI COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Good evening, how are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. Mr. Chairman, when did you first informally - - not by subpoena but informally make any sort of request or notification to the State Department or to Secretary Clinton that you were interested or you knew of emails?

GOWDY: Well Greta, that would go all the way back to oversight and then chairman Darrell Issa. There was also a letter from Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz weeks after the attacks on Benghazi where she was asked to turn over documents or records that would be in her possession. All of that predated the Benghazi select committee. Of course, that committee came into existence in May of 2014. And we began immediately trying to work with the state department to secure a complete record from Secretary Clinton but the state department either had amnesia or just chose not to tell us they didn't have the records.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. When did you serve an official subpoena?

GOWDY: Well, the OGR subpoena was congressional. So there was no need for us to reassert that, we did with the new session in congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: When was the first...?

GOWDY: That was some time in 2013. Chairman Issa sent that on behalf of the Oversight Committee but it was in existence well before the Select Committee came into existence.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would that have included in it her emails. When you look at the request and subpoena. Would that have included emails?

GOWDY: You know Greta, it could be read that way but good lawyers could also read it not that way. That subpoena was to the state department. The State Department we now know was not in possession of her emails. So, I mean, that's why people hate lawyers as much as they do. Is because they can parse words and dance on the head of a pin.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. When did she wipe her server clean? Do you know that answer?

GOWDY: Well, can I give you a range, sometime between October 28th of 2014 and mid December. We know the letter from the State Department went to the prior secretaries of state on October the 28th, 2014. And her lawyer says some time in the fall of 2014, she decided not to keep those emails and the fall would extend, I guess, in to the winter solstice in mid December.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I'm trying to figure out is whether the deletion was done just -- because you delete emails or whether it was done because she knew that you were looking for her emails? There is a big difference to me the timing.

GOWDY: Well Greta, you and I are never going to know the answer to that question unless we ask her. I mean, I can get all the letters in the world from her attorney or you and I can discuss it, but, this suggests or more than suggests, this indicates we have to have a separate conversation with Secretary Clinton about this email arrangement that she had with herself. And that conversation is going to be separate and apart from any conversation about what happened in Benghazi.

VAN SUSTEREN: When are you going to have that? Have you sent a letter to her that you want her to come speak to her? Have you spoken to her lawyers that you want her to come testify?

GOWDY: I would say in the very near future we are going to formally invite Secretary Clinton to come before either our committee or Speaker Boehner believes it's best to be in front of another committee, whatever committee Speaker Boehner wants. But this line of inquiry about her emails is separate and apart from Benghazi because there are equities beyond Libya. There is Iran and Somalia, Bolivia, you name the issue while she was secretary of state, and somebody has equity in those answers. That's broader than just our committee. I'm going to do whatever the speaker asks me to do. But I'm not looking to enlarge the jurisdiction of our committee. Four murdered Americans are enough for me.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have this March 27th letter from her lawyer. Is this the first time that you learned that the server had been wiped? And what were your thoughts and what are you going to do?

GOWDY: Yes, that was the first time I think anyone learned that she had deleted -- now her press conference she gave I would argue inconsistent answers. She said she decided not to keep him and then she decided that they would remain private. Those are two different things. What are we going to do about it? We're going to have a conversation with Secretary Clinton. I would hope that it would be a transcribed interview, which is private, it protects her privacy. It protects national security interests. And it rebuts this notion that this is a political charade which some democrats suggest. Let's have a private conversation about why you had your own server, why you didn't return the records when you left the state department. And why you decided to permanently delete them when you knew the congressional investigations were ongoing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are they really permanently deleted? I must confess I got a little confused after the Lois Lerner thing. Are things ever permanently deleted? Have you spoken to any experts? Can these be retrieved?

GOWDY: They might/can Greta, but certainly can't if you don't have possession of the server. Again, remember we asked that that server be turned over to the inspector general, a neutral detached independent third party. And they rejected that offer. So, whether or not the speaker is going to decide to amp up that request will be up to him. But they already rejected what I thought was imminently reasonable recommendation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did they reject because they say we don't have to or we don't want to?

GOWDY: I think he said it wasn't legally authorized and then he said even if it were it would be academic because it doesn't exist. So, again, and I'm sure her lawyer is a wonderful lawyer. I know he is. But I'm not interested in talking to him. I need to talk to her. I need to ask what she did and when she did it and importantly why she did it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman Gowdy thank you very much for joining us.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.