Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is the ranking member on the House Select Committee on Benghazi. So when it was discovered that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had every email she ever sent during her tenure on a previously unknown private server in her home — and that it was not accessible or searchable by anyone in government — you’d think he’d be upset that his committee had not received all the information they need to conduct their investigation.
You would be wrong.
Cummings praised the former secretary for her transparency. “As far as I am aware,” Cummings said in a statement, “no other Cabinet secretary in history has ever called for the release of his or her emails — in their entirety and throughout his or her tenure. I commend Secretary Clinton’s decision.”
Cummings was referring to Clinton’s tweet saying she wanted the American people to see her emails, but the State Department would have to vet them first.
Unaddressed in the lawmaker’s statement is the fact that since her emails were stored on a private server in her house, there is no way to confirm she, in fact, turned over all relevant emails. Clinton reportedly had her staff search through her personally owned server and decide with emails to turn over to the State Department. It has been widely reported that Clinton turned over 55,000 pages, not 55,000 individual emails. Since emails can run an unlimited number of pages when printed, the exact number of emails will not be known for some time, but is expected to be significantly less than 55,000.
Unconcerned, Cummings’ said, “All of these steps were taken before Monday’s New York Times story. In contrast, it appears that no other former Secretary produced a single document – yet Republicans have been silent on this fact.”
The existence of the private server in the Clinton’s Chappaqua, NY, home and her never using an official government email address, possibly in violation of the Federal Records Act and in contrast to Obama administration policy, was not known until the Times broke the story. No government official or agency has ever had access to Secretary Clinton’s email, during or after her tenure, for responding to lawful Freedom of Information Act requests or archive purposes.
Cummings also did not address these issues in his statement praising Clinton for transparency.