Politics & Policy

Did Hillary Really Erase Her Server? A GOP Subpoena Will Tell

(Alex Wong/Getty)

Thanks to Tuesday’s State Department document dump, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail server is back in the news. The roughly 3,000 e-mails that State plopped on the media were among the 55,000 that Clinton supposedly surrendered before she wiped that server as clean as a chalkboard at the start of class.

But what if that server still brims with Clinton’s e-mails and other documents?

I strongly suspect that Clinton has erased nothing. Her server is pristine. Hillary and company only say that it has been deleted.

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“I have confirmed with the secretary’s IT support that no emails . . . for the time period January 21, 2009, through February 1, 2013, reside on the server or on any back-up systems associated with the server,” Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, wrote the House Select Committee on Benghazi. “Thus, there are no hdr22@clintonemail.com e-mails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized.”

By asserting that the contents of the server have been obliterated, Clinton enjoys the political advantage of pretending to delete it: Republicans largely have stopped asking for the device.

Hillary’s server is empty, GOPers think. So, why bother with it?

Instead, Republicans probing Clinton’s role in the Benghazi massacre trust bureaucrats at State to share e-mails from among those that Clinton hand-picked in the first place. At best, Benghazi Committee chairman Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) and others are seeing a subset of a subset of Clinton’s e-mails, all of which already have been hand-picked by Clinton.

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Meanwhile, my hunch is that Clinton has touched nothing. This leaves her totally immune to federal charges of destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice, because she craftily has done no such thing.

“It’s entirely possible that Hillary is lying when she claims to have wiped her server,” former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell tells me. “Her bald claims to have done so seem to have deflected attention from the server and bought her a pass — at a minimum stalling and diverting the substantive investigation.” The author of Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice adds: “If Hillary actually did not erase her own server, and is lying about having done so, she hasn’t actually destroyed evidence. And if her lies were not under oath, she’s not subject to a perjury prosecution. It’s the Clinton version of ‘bait and switch.’”

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Remember, Clinton originally said at a March 10 news conference:

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 emails instead of two. Looking back, it would’ve been better if I’d simply used a second e-mail account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.

It turns out that Clinton had not one e-mail address, but at least two that have appeared in released documents (hdr17@clintonemail.com and hdr22@clintonemail.com). She may have had as many as ten e-mail addresses. Even more amazing, on February 24, just two weeks earlier, Clinton told the Silicon Valley Conference for Women that she was a virtual technology addict: “I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone, and a BlackBerry.

Clinton says she forwarded to State all e-mails related to her duties. However, several e-mails not in State’s possession popped up among those belonging to shadowy Clinton hand Sidney Blumenthal, through whom she ran “her own intelligence operation,” the Washington Times’s Monica Crowley presciently recognized.

Clinton supposedly zapped her other correspondence. She said these included some 30,000 “e-mails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends, as well as yoga routines.” Perhaps, but most people steward deeply personal communications about such milestones as the nuptials of an only child or the burial of a sole surviving parent. Either Hillary Clinton is lying about expunging these memories, or this 67-year-old grandmother is as sentimental as Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

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“I will not believe the server is ‘wiped clean’ until there has been a credible forensic investigation done on the actual server,” says former assistant U.S. attorney and author Andrew McCarthy. “It is actually not easy to delete information from a server without a very concerted effort — simply deleting information does not preclude its recovery. There is, in any event, no downside to issuing a subpoena for the server.” McCarthy continues: “There is no procedural reason to refrain. . . . ‘Bloodhounds’ is not the word I’d use to describe GOP investigators.”

#related#Indeed, four months since Servergate broke, the House has yet to subpoena the damn thing. “If we need to do that, we may have to,” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) uttered flaccidly last April on Bloomberg TV. Gowdy believes that the House’s power to subpoena Clinton’s server is “an open constitutional question.”

It’s past time to ask that question. If the server is intact, let’s learn what’s on it. If Clinton smashed it into a hundred pieces, the American people should see the debris.

And the condition of Clinton’s server is no reason to avoid demanding it. As former House senior counsel Michael Stern explained at PointOfOrder.com, “There is no high constitutional principle allowing Clinton to block a congressional subpoena because of the technical difficulty in extracting information from the server, particularly when she created the difficulty in the first place.”

If Congress subpoenas the server, the result will be a long court battle,” predicted Power Line columnist Paul Mirengoff, an attorney. “But that’s okay. Let Clinton campaign for the presidency while fighting to keep tens of thousands of e-mails out of the public domain.”

So, then, are Republicans simply scared of Hillary Clinton? Do they fear that she might attack them on the campaign trail?

Gowdy’s and Boehner’s entreaties to Clinton (inviting her to testify at her leisure rather than ordering her, a private citizen, to show up with her server and sing — NOW!) are more like rose petals tossed in her path than the boxing gloves that Democrats wear when they TKO Republicans.

If Democrats controlled Congress, and Condoleezza Rice hid a private server, a federal SWAT team would have splintered Rice’s front door months ago with a battering ram and grabbed the machine in the middle of the night — à la Elian Gonzalez.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was first published.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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