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US Republicans subpoena Hillary Clinton emails

A US House committee has issued subpoenas for emails of Hillary Clinton from her time as secretary of state. Clinton says she wants the emails made public as soon as possible.

A US House of Representatives Republican-led committee set up to investigate deadly 2012 attacks on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Wednesday issued subpoenas for all of the former secretary of state's email communications related to the affair.

The committee also sent letters to Internet companies ordering them to protect all relevant documents.

"We're going to get them," the chairman of the committee, Trey Gowdy, told reporters, referring to the emails.

"We have to go to the source, which would be secretary Clinton herself," he added.

Private account

The subpoenas come after it was learned earlier this week that Clinton used a private account for official business during her time in the job from 2009 to 2013, which provoked accusations that she could have violated federal rules on keeping records.

A report from the Associated Press on Wednesday additionally said that Clinton had also used a computer email server that has been traced back to her family's home in New York state.

US federal law requires that all written communications of government officials are preserved. The use of a private server would make it easier to contravene this regulation.

Call for emails' release

In response to the subpoenas, Hillary said in a tweet she had asked the State Department to release her email communications.

The State Department has defended Clinton, saying that there had been no prohibition at the time on using a personal email account, provided all communication was preserved.

It said a total of 55,000 pages of material from the time she was in office had already been sent to the Benghazi committee.

Smear campaign?

Democrats on the committee have described the decision to issue subpoenas as a politically motivated attempt to smear Clinton, who is widely expected to launch a second presidential campaign at elections next year.

Republicans, for their part, have accused both Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of a lack of transparency in their dealings.

The affair follows recent reports that her family's Clinton Foundation accepted donations from foreign governments while she was the US' top diplomat.

Clinton has come under fire over the Benghazi attacks from Republican lawmakers who say she did not do enough to ensure the safety of Americans in Libya.

US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in

the attack on September 11, 2012.

tj/kms (Reuters, AP)

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