Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton agreed Monday to testify on Capitol Hill later this month about using personal email for government business and about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Her lawyer, David Kendall, wrote to the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks to inform lawmakers that the candidate for president would testify once, not twice as she was asked.
A committee spokesman, Jamal Ware, said the committee will take her response into consideration and issue a statement. “The committee has consistently shown it is interested in getting the facts and doing so in a deliberate and diligent manner,” Ware said.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, urged the chairman to “finally” schedule a hearing.
“Dragging out this process further into the presidential election season sacrifices any chance that the American people will see it as serious or legitimate,” he said. “After nearly a year, we have still found not a scrap of evidence to support claims Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, approved an illicit weapons program, or any of the other wild allegations that Republicans have been making about her for years.”
Clinton has turned over 30,490 work emails to the State Department in response to a request from the agency, but said that she deleted another 31,830 personal emails that she said were about her daughter’s wedding, her mother’s funeral and yoga routines, among other things.
The Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed the emails while asking she voluntarily turn over her personal email server to a “neutral, detached and independent” third party for “immediate inspection and review” perhaps the State Department’s inspector general.
But Clinton’s attorney told the committee that she permanently deleted all emails from the server _ apparently after she was asked by the State Department to turn them over _ and refused to turn over the server. It was not clear whether the emails could be recovered from the server through cyberforensic procedures.
After Clinton declined to turn over any other records, the panel formally asked her to appear before lawmakers for a private interview by May 1. Her office said she would appear before them publicly.
Gowdy renewed his call for her testify amid revelations that she didn’t respond to a different congressional inquiry two years ago about whether she used a private email account. But last week, he asked her to appear for two public hearings instead of a private one. He plans to schedule the first hearing the week of May 18.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., then-chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent the State Department a letter in December 2012 asking if Clinton or any senior department official ever used a personal email account for official business. The agency responded to Issa’s letter in March 2013, after Clinton left office, with a generic description of the State Department’s email policies.
“Evidence that Congress inquired about her use of private email years before the disclosure that she exclusively used personal email only heightens Congress' need to speak directly with Secretary Clinton to ensure the public record is complete,” Gowdysaid.