Trey Gowdy, chairman of the special House Committee that’s investigating Benghazi, said today that his committee lacks the power to subpoena Hillary Clinton’s email server because it is personal property. At the same time, Gowdy called on Clinton to turn over the server voluntarily. Clinton “doesn’t get to determine what’s a public record and what’s a personal record,” said Gowdy.
Actually, in the absence of a subpoena, Clinton gets to do exactly that — her determination that the emails she deleted were personal records will not be reviewed. (By the way, I wish politicians would stop saying that people “don’t get to” do things. This phrase, a favorite of President Obama’s, is nearly as immature as “you’re not the boss of me.”)
Can Hillary’s server be obtained via a congressional subpoena? According to Gowdy, whether the House of Representatives as a whole can subpoena the server is “an open constitutional question.”
The question is one that I think Congress should put to the test, especially if the production of emails made available to Gowdy’s committee fails to fill in the gaps that Gowdy says exist during the time period relevant to his investigation.
To the extent that there’s an open constitutional question, the facts here seem favorable to a claim that Congress has the power to subpoena the server. It may be personal property, but the deleted emails are property that rightfully belonged to the government. And the deleted emails are the property Congress would really be seeking. The server is simply the means through which Clinton evaded her obligation to preserve documents.
If Congress subpoenas the server, the result will be a long court battle. But that’s okay. Let Clinton campaign for the presidency while fighting to keep tens of thousands of emails out of the public domain.
Maybe someone will even remind Americans that, back in the day, Hillary stole all of the Rose Firm’s records (including her time sheets and billing records) pertaining to her involvement in the Castle Grande scheme.
In the process of subpoena battle, Trey Gowdy will become the left’s new pantomime villain. But he doesn’t seem like the type who minds. And unlike Hillary Clinton, Gowdy isn’t running for president.