Republicans demand Hillary Clinton turn over her server

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," March 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: 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.


MARTHA MACCALLUM: Private? That was Hillary Clinton ten days ago making her first public appearance on the exploding scandal over the unprecedented exclusive use of a private e-mail server at her own home while she was secretary of state. Today Republicans formally requesting to Mrs. Clinton to turn the server over they say to a third party, an inspector general or somebody who would look at it and be neutral. And if she doesn't, they're now threatening to take this whole issue to court.

Chief White House correspondent Ed Henry joins us live tonight in Washington. Hi, Ed.

HENRY: Good to see you, Martha. This is a legal and political showdown with some very interesting elements. The first is the timing of this. Republican Trey Gowdy giving the former secretary of state a deadline of April 3rd. Why is that interesting? Well, that's right around the time she is expected to launch an exploratory committee for president. This is the last thing she wants to be dealing with right now obviously. Gowdy saying the reason he wants to get at this server is as you noted at that news conference just over a week ago, she had said that no official e- mails were deleted. These were just e-mails about yoga, bridesmaids' dresses. Gowdy wanting to know the over 31,000 emails that were deleted, was there any official business in there?

And he said in this letter to Clinton's lawyer today, he needs a server, quote, "For a thorough investigation into what happened before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. More broadly the equities in these emails extend beyond this committee. The House representatives and the American people are entitled to a complete accounting of the Secretary's official record during her time as Secretary of State." The other interesting and final element here is, who received the letter for Secretary Clinton. It was David Kendall, who is the attorney representing her. Very prominent lawyer here in Washington from Williams and Connolly. You remember him from the late 90s representing then President Bill Clinton during the impeachment drama, why is that significant? This just shows she's not just gearing up for a presidential campaign, she is very much girding for illegal showdown here of epic proportions -- Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Very interesting. Ed, thank you very much.

HENRY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Joining us now Rich Lowry, editor at 'The National Review' and a Fox News contributor of course. Trey Gowdy has been hanging on to this like a dog whose got a piece of meat in his mouth, he doesn't like go off. What can he actually get from her?

RICH LOWRY, THE NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, in theory could he subpoena the server and the House in theory eventually could enforce that subpoena itself if the Attorney General is not going to enforce it.

MACCALLUM: He would need the full house. He can't do it on his own and his committee, right?

LOWRY: It would be, yes, and this would be an enormous political and legal battle. And Hillary Clinton's attitude is just I got it. Come and get me copper, come and get this server. And she knows the Attorney General is going to protect her. And the House actually enforcing its own subpoena and going and getting it is very unlikely. But if she really had a clean conscience her, she would just say I don't have a problem with the State Department inspector general. I'll hand it over. All he'll see, you know, all my emails with Bill Clinton that he says, he didn't send any but I say our correspondences are on there, all those private correspondence with Bill over yoga and over personal matters and I'll see that all of my
official staff was --

MACCALLUM: I mean, that would be the natural thing to do. If you really weren't concerned about any of it, would be to say, you know, please, take a look. There's absolutely nothing in there that I'm worried about. But that doesn't seem to be the tactic she'll be taking.

LOWRY: Right. And the turning over the server would make this whole exercise for her pointless because the reason she set up the private e- mail, the reason she set-up the private server was for her to have complete control over her own records and violate --

MACCALLUM: As Carville said, she didn't want Louie Gohmert going through her stuff. And he said, can everybody understand that?

LOWRY: Occasionally Jim Carville spent -- and that's a version of the truth. She doesn't want anyone that might cast a hostile eye on these things to see them. And that's not the spirit or the letter of the law.

MACCALLUM: Doesn't seem like there's any indication that she's going to change anything about that with these threats. So, we will see how far John Boehner and Trey Gowdy go on this.

Big piece today in 'The Wall Street Journal,' on the Clinton Global initiative. And some people think that this story could percolate to be even bigger in the end than the e-mail story. Do you think this could hurt her and why?

LOWRY: Absolutely. I mean, this just stinks to high heaven, this method of operating. Where you have this foundation that's extremely important to a former president and perhaps a future president and you have this foreign players, the Ukrainian oligarchs Saudi, Princes, Chinese mega- businessman giving money to that foundation. And they say, oh, we're just charitable people. But the advantage giving to the foundation over giving to the Red Cross or any other organization is perhaps you get the charitable work done but you're also doing, you currying favor with extremely --

MACCALLUM: Rich, I don't know how you can have a global initiative and not have countries involved in it, and they've been doing this for years. And when she was at the State Department, they claim that they stopped accepting money from countries, they accepted money from individuals, that's what the Journal piece was kind of digging in today. Those individuals.

LOWRY: Right. They continued to accept money from some foreign countries that had already been given money. I don't understand what the hard line distinction there is, but these people Saudi Princes and others are intimately connected to foreign government. So, I think one of the upshots of her press conference and why it created more problems rather than a solution for her, the press didn't accept her story. The press has seized of this matter. And you have, you know, at least half a dozen reporters tonight probably thinking seeing Pulitzer Prizes flashed to their eyes when they dig into this thing because they're more nasty things on --

MACCALLUM: Yes. You know, even if they can't get this to the court in terms of the email issue, and even if this, they can't find a quid pro- quo where they can put together money for influence which is really the task in the Clinton Global Initiative issue. It's going to come back around if she does run. In debates, Rand Paul sort of gave us a little inkling of what he might come back with at her when this comes up. It is inevitably well in a debate environment. She says, you know, he says to, to retweet, "If you agree that Hillary Clinton must return the money that she took from countries that oppress women." So, he's going to point to her and say, how could you take money from Saudi Arabia? How could you take money from countries that have human rights violations? It is clearly going to come out to haunt her in that environment.

LOWRY: Absolutely. It's just a reminder to Democrats that there's so much baggage she has tied to the top of her Cadillac, Escalade, or whatever she has been driven around in. One of the great advantages of Barack Obama as a candidate in 2008, there's no legacy animosities, there's no baggage there. He was relatively a blank slate and she is not. There are 20 years' worth of scandals.

MACCALLUM: You think -- twice Rich about whether or not she's going to run?

LOWRY: She might. She might. You know, she certainly does not seem happy and joyful warrior. This is a world weary person who apparently does not really have the energy even to pretend not to have --

MACCALLUM: She wanted for a long time, it appears and this may be, you know, her last shot to do it. And that's got to be tugging at her emotions as well. We will see. Rich, thank you very much.

LOWRY: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you.

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