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Clinton critics come out swinging

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a keynote address during the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on February 24, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a keynote address during the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on February 24, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif.

MIAMI -- The dark cloud of controversy hanging over Hillary Clinton isn't moving on quite yet.

The former secretary of state's critics came out swinging during the Sunday political talk shows this week, taking aim at Clinton amid revelations that she used her private email exclusively during her tenure at the State Department. 

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi that is investigating the Obama administration's handling of the 2012 attacks in Libya, said he had lost confidence in the State Department for overseeing the situation and allowing Clinton to use a private email server. 

"It's not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what's a public document and what's not," Gowdy said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Related: Hillary Clinton speaks out on Selma, from Miami

Clinton has called on the State Department to release 55,000 pages of emails that she had selected to be turned over to the government. More than 900 of those pages have been handed out to Gowdy's special committee -- but the Republican leaders are saying those efforts are not quite enough.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who has led a charge in keeping the Benghazi controversy alive, said Sunday that it would be a crime if investigators were to find out that Clinton knowingly withheld emails from congressional investigators.

"She, in fact, hid the very existence of this until she was caught," Issa said on CNN's "State of the Union."

In his first Sunday show interview since becoming the Senate's top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was unsure whether Clinton violated any federal laws, but he still had concerns. "I am a little bit worried about the security of those emails," McConnell said on "Face the Nation." "They would have been prime targets for cyber attacks."

The former secretary of state is currently weathering a pair of controversies. On top of the criticism over her emails, Clinton's family's foundation -- the Clinton Global Initiative -- is under tough scrutiny for accepting contributions from foreign governments over the same period. 

Clinton addressed the criticism this week by offering a window of transparency to her emails. “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible,” she wrote on Twitter.

Related: Jeb Bush: 'Baffling' Clinton e-mail account posed security risk

Still, some say more must be done for Clinton to get out ahead of the controversy before it spirals out of control. Sen. Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, on Sunday offered Clinton some advice: "Step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is."

"She is the leading candidate, whether it be Republican or Democrat, for the next president ... from this point on, the silence is going to hurt her," Feinstein said on "Meet the Press."

Asked whether he felt his wife was being treated unfairly, President Bill Clinton on Sunday declined to make any news. "I'm not the one to judge that," Clinton said at the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference at the University of Miami. "I have an opinion, but I have a bias."

Though it seems nearly a foregone conclusion that the entire Clinton family will likely be hitting the presidential campaign trail soon, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is remaining coy as to whether her mother will make an official 2016 run. 

“And I know she’s always made the right decisions for herself in our family and in our country," Chelsea Clinton told Fusion on Saturday. "And I don’t know what she’s going to decide. But whatever it is, it will be the right decision for her and for all of us.”

Alex Seitz-Wald contributed to this story