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Republican: Clinton email server key to Benghazi inquiry

March 14, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican member of the House committee investigating the deadly attacks against Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 says Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email server could help lawmakers answer key questions.

Among them: Why was security at the U.S. diplomatic compound inadequate?

The committee’s investigation is taking place at the same time the 2016 presidential race is gearing up. Clinton is widely considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination for president, although she has not yet announced her candidacy.

Rep. Susan Brooks said in the weekly Republican radio address Saturday that gaining access to Clinton’s server is “the only way to truly know” that investigators have obtained all the State Department communications that “rightfully belong to the American people.”

Clinton acknowledged this past week that as the nation’s top diplomat, she relied on a personal email account rather than one operated by the government.

The committee chairman Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy has called on Clinton to turn over the server for an independent review; Clinton so far has rebuffed the request.

Gowdy said he planned to call Clinton to appear before his committee at least twice. He said one appearance from Clinton would be needed to “clear up” her role in using personal email, while the second would be to answer questions related to the Benghazi attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Those appearances are likely to create an unwelcome distraction for the leading contender for her party’s nomination.

Republican leaders have not ruled out a House vote to force Clinton to turn over the server, setting up a possible confrontation between the Republican-led Congress and Clinton.

Brooks said in her address that the server could help the committee “answer vital questions,” including why requests for additional security at the Benghazi compound were denied, and why some members of the Obama administration appeared “slow to acknowledge” that a terrorist attack had occurred.

“It is simply unacceptable for so many questions to remain unanswered,′ Brooks said. “And it is unjust and simply wrong for anyone to withhold evidence that may lead to the answers.”

President Barack Obama has promised that his administration would be the “most transparent administration in history,” but Brooks said Clinton “has fallen painfully short” of that mark.

Clinton served as secretary of state during Obama’s first term.

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