Benghazi committee formally asks Hillary Clinton to testify

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at Georgetown University, Nov. 15, 2013.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at Georgetown University, Nov. 15, 2013.

The House committee probing the Benghazi terror attack has formally requested Hillary Clinton meet with committee investigators, setting in motion a chain of events that will likely culminate in the likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate testifying publicly before Congress on Benghazi and her private email account.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Republican Chairman Trey Gowdy, has been investigating Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email account while she served as secretary of state.

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Gowdy had previous asked Clinton to turn over her private email server to the State Department’s inspector general, but her lawyer refused Friday, saying all relevant emails had already been turned over to the department.

In the latest twist, Gowdy sent a letter sent to Clinton’s lawyer Tuesday, calling that decision “disappointing” and saying it will delay his committee's work.

“This Committee is left with no alternative but to request Secretary Clinton appear before this Committee for a transcribed interview to better understand decisions the Secretary made relevant to the creation, maintenance, retention, and ultimately deletion of public records,” Gowdy said.

He added that wanted to schedule a private, transcribed interview with Clinton “no later than” May 1.

Clinton has said she is willing to testify before the committee, and said she wants to do it as soon as possible. In his letter, Gowdy said he cannot schedule a public hearing until he’s convinced that Clinton turned over all emails related to the Benghazi terror attacks.

“We share the secretary's desire these two conversations take place as quickly and efficiently as possible, and are willing to expedite both” meetings, Gowdy said.

The email account has become a central issue in the nascent 2016 presidential race, where Clinton is expected to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. New polling from Quinnipiac University suggests the email controversy has damaged Clinton in key general election swing states, though other survey research is inconclusive.