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Benghazi Committee wants to hear from Hillary Clinton by mid-May

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a roundtable discussion with members of the small business community at Capital City Fruit on April 15, 2015 in Norwalk, Iowa.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy insists that the committee must hear from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at least twice more in the coming months, Gowdy wrote in a letter Thursday to Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall.

Gowdy said that unless he hears differently from Kendall, he will plan on scheduling a public hearing the week of May 18 to ask Clinton about her use of a private email account as secretary of state. The Republican chairman included a list of 136 questions he has about her email use.

If that hearing assures lawmakers that the public record is complete, Gowdy said he'll schedule a second hearing with Clinton no later than June 18 to resume discussion about the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.

Gowdy previously offered to let Clinton testify privately about her email use, but Kendall said Wednesday that there'd be no reason for a private hearing and that Clinton is willing to testify publicly. Kendall said that questions about Clinton's email use have " already been publicly answered by Secretary Clinton."

In his letter Thursday, Gowdy clarified that he was simply suggesting a private hearing for Clinton "to protect her privacy and to facilitate a discussion of certain technical matters." He added, however, that if Clinton is to testify publicly, she should be ready to answer all questions, no matter how long it takes. Gowdy also added that the committee is willing to travel outside of Washington, D.C. to hear Clinton's testimony, to accommodate her schedule.

Clinton has said she opted to use her private email during her time at the State Department for the sake of "convenience," to avoid having to juggle multiple devices. She's said any work-related emails have already been submitted to federal archivists in accordance with the law, while her private emails have been deleted. Republicans have accused her of skirting record-keeping rules to maintain absolute control over the privacy of her digital communications.

Clinton has already publicly testified once before the House panel, which was convened to investigate the government's handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, including then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

The revelation that she was using a private email server as secretary of state, though, has breathed new life into the committee's inquiry.

Some of the questions Gowdy submitted Thursday to Kendall include: "Did you ever send or receive classified information via your personal email?" and "Did anyone suggest you utilize an official email address?"