GOP leadership won't back Lamar Smith's investigation of Clinton emails

(See updates below)

I think somebody in the top ranks of the Republican Party missed a memo somewhere along the line. When John Boehner stepped down and Paul Ryan took the gavel we were told that there would be more of a bottom up approach to the organization with committee leaders having an increased level of influence and responsibility. That subject seems to be getting put to the test this week when it comes to the topic of Hillary Clinton’s Top Secret emails on her bathroom closet server. Most of the investigation thus far has been handled by the Benghazi committee, focusing on the specific content of the emails which related to the tragic events at the Libyan compound. But now that the question of general security and the protection of our nation’s secrets has come to light, Congressman Lamar Smith, chair of the Sci­ence, Space, and Tech­no­logy committee, has begun probing the relevant material.


Unfortunately, that seems to have been a decision he made on his own and the leadership is reluctant to endorse the move, and that’s putting it kindly. (Government Executive)

House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy in­dic­ated Monday that a long­time House chair­man over­stepped his jur­is­dic­tion when he launched an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton’s private email serv­er last month.

Sci­ence, Space, and Tech­no­logy Chair­man Lamar Smith is prob­ing wheth­er private con­tract­ors who set up Clin­ton’s serv­er at her New York home fol­lowed fed­er­al cy­ber­se­cur­ity guidelines. But Mc­Carthy said he be­lieves the mat­ter to be un­der the pur­view of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Benghazi.

“I have the same im­pres­sion as you, that it would be Gowdy’s jur­is­dic­tion,” Mc­Carthy said, de­clin­ing to an­swer wheth­er Smith had pre-cleared the in­vest­ig­a­tion with lead­er­ship.

Smith, part of the Texas delegation, has a lengthy history of mixing things up from the conservative side of the bench. You probably recall that he’s been at the lead in investigating NOAA and their curious climate change figures this winter. The question before us today, though, is why McCarthy wouldn’t immediately give this email investigation his blessing. Smith is a dogged investigator who doesn’t mince words and seems ideally suited for the job. Further, he’s looking into a question which specifically speaks to technology… in this case, computer security. Wouldn’t his committee be a far more appropriate fit than one which was formed in an ad hoc fashion targeting only the Benghazi questions?


Going back to the scenario I discussed at the top, whether or not you agree with the appropriate nature of the Sci­ence, Space, and Technology committee investigating a question of, er… technology, what happened to letting the committee chairs have more of a say in the overall party strategy? Squashing this and sending it back to Trey Gowdy might eventually get the job done, but shouldn’t we be throwing all of the appropriate and available resources at the problem that can be summoned? This is, after all, a matter of national security.

Hopefully McCarthy can sit down with Speaker Ryan and work through this. It would go a long way toward rebuilding some trust among the conservative base if Smith is allowed to pick up this ball and run with it.

UPDATE: (Jazz)

McCarthy offered some clarification on this last night:

“The Select Committee’s focus is on emails pertaining to the attack in Benghazi,” he said. “The FBI is investigating all other issues related to her private server and email account.”

And today, Matt Wolking, Press Secretary for the Select Committee on Benghazi offered us the following comment:

“None of the Secretary of State’s emails would have been discovered if not for the work of the Select Committee on Benghazi, but the FBI’s subsequent investigation into the top secret, classified information on her unsecure, private server is an entirely separate issue and wholly unrelated to the committee’s narrow focus on what happened before, during and after the terrorists attacks that killed four Americans. She was wrong to conflate a YouTube video with the terrorist attacks, she is wrong to conflate her testimony before the committee with the FBI’s investigation into her unprecedented email arrangement, and she is wrong to continue to mislead the American people.”



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