By Ben Kamisar
Clinton will turn over email server to Justice Department
Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWhat will be October’s surprise? Poll: Half of Trump supporters don't trust integrity of election Gingrich: 'No excuse ever' for 3 a.m. tweeting MORE will turn over her private email server and a backup thumb drive to the Justice Department, her spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
The news comes just hours after the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General told Congress that her email server contained emails that have now been classified “top secret.”
Spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton “pledged to cooperate with the government’s security inquiry.”
“She directed her team to give her email server that was used during her tenure as Secretary to the Department of Justice, as well as a thumb drive containing copies of her emails already provided to the State Department,” Merrill said in a statement provided to The Hill.
“If there are more questions, we will continue to address them.”
The statement added that Clinton has worked with State to "ensure that her emails are stored in a safe and secure manner."
While Clinton turned over the emails she deemed work-related, she deleted a similar amount that her team said were strictly personal.
Clinton’s use of her personal email server has dogged her since before she entered the presidential race, and some Democrats have worried that it has contributed to her fledgling poll numbers on trustworthiness.
July polling from the swing states of Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia found that the majority of voters in all three states didn’t find her honest or trustworthy. And national polls from June found the same trend.
That led to significant criticism from Republicans — specifically House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — who have called on Clinton to turn over her server to ensure that she didn’t delete any emails that should have been turned over.
Clinton and her team have bucked those repeated calls to relinquish control of her email server, asserting that she had already turned over any email that could be related to her role as secretary of State.
“We don’t think we have to do that,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, said in July on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when asked whether Clinton needs to turn the server over to show that she’s trustworthy.
It is unclear whether those deleted emails can be retrieved from the server.
Merrill emphasized that Clinton has already provided the State Department with 55,000 pages of work emails in an initial inquiry.
Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee, slammed Clinton in a statement, saying she would "never have had a secret server in the first place" if she "really cares about transparency."
The statement also implied her action might not satisfy concerns about the impartiality of the Obama administration's Justice Department.
"If Hillary Clinton believed in honesty and transparency, she would have turned over her secret server months ago to an independent arbiter, not as a last resort and to the Obama Justice Department," he said.
"The majority of Americans don't trust her, and they're right. She put our national security at risk for selfish reasons. She couldn't be trusted at the State Department; she certainly can't be trusted in the Oval Office."
Gowdy criticized Clinton in a statement, noting that "she refused every entreat" as the committee called on her to turn the server over.
"Secretary Clinton's decision to prioritize her own convenience — and desire for control — over the security of our country's intelligence should concern all people of good conscience," he said.
"This is a serious national security issue, and the seriousness of it should transcend normal, partisan politics."
Speaker John Boehner added in a statement: “It's about time. Secretary Clinton's previous statements that she possessed no classified information were patently untrue. Her mishandling of classified information must be fully investigated."
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released two pages of the memo sent to a handful of members of Congress that confirmed the Intelligence Community Inspector General's finding.
“This information revealed by the inspector general makes it even more important that the FBI and the State Department secure these documents,” he said.
“To date, the two agencies most critical to securing this information have failed to assure the American people that they are taking the necessary steps to protect America’s national security interests.”
The State Department is also looking into Clinton’s top aides to learn whether any other unclassified information is unaccounted for, McClatchy reported.
“We will follow the facts wherever they lead, to include former aides and associates, as appropriate,” said Douglas Welty, a spokesman for the State Department’s Inspector General.
In July, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General uncovered at least four classified emails from a small batch of 40. That set off a new round of criticism from Republicans and calls for Clinton to turn her server over to an independent arbiter.
- Updated on August 12 at 12:04 p.m.