WASHINGTON -- The House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a formal interview request to Hillary Clinton’s lawyer on Tuesday regarding emails she exchanged during her time as secretary of state.
In a letter to the Clinton’s lawyer, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the committee chairman, said the committee is not interested in emails relating to personal or private matters, and instead will focus solely on those pertaining to “Libya and Benghazi during the relevant time periods.”
“Toward that end and because of the Secretary’s unique arrangement with herself as it relates to public records during and after her tenure as Secretary of State, 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 stated in the letter.
Gowdy set a May 1 deadline for the interview.
An interview, Gowdy argued, would provide protection for the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s privacy and security for sensitive information.
The request comes after reports revealed Clinton used a private email address and a server located in her New York home during her time as secretary of state. Last week, Gowdy said Clinton did not respond to any of the subpoenas requesting documents in the case, and her lawyer had informed the committee that the server used for emails during her tenure had been wiped clean.
Gowdy said once Clinton is interviewed and all documents related to the 2012 Benghazi attack are shared, the committee will schedule a time for Clinton to testify publicly in a hearing.
“We share the Secretary’s desire these two conversations take place as quickly and efficiently as possible, and are willing to expedite both working with your office, the Secretary’s schedule and our Democrat colleagues on the Committee,” Gowdy said. “What the Committee cannot do is conclude its work without assurances the Committee has all relevant information necessary for us to discharge the duties required of us.”
Gowdy went on to call Clinton’s email situation “highly unusual, if not unprecedented,” and said it “exacerbates” lawmakers’ needs to “understand what the Secretary did.”
Earlier this month, Clinton said she had a private email account because she “thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”
She admitted that “looking back,” it would have been better to carry the second phone.
Clinton is not the only government official to use a private email for work. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he used a private email during his time in office, as did Jeb Bush when he served as governor of Florida.