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By Kathleen Miller, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The Republican chairman of a U.S. House panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks is asking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to decide by April 3 whether to turn over her private email server to an outside arbiter.

Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said in a letter to Clinton’s lawyer that if she refuses, he will ask House Speaker John Boehner to “use the full powers of the House” to obtain the server.

Gowdy said in the letter dated March 19 that Clinton should give her email server to the State Department inspector general or another independent arbiter to decide which messages are work-related and which are personal.

Gowdy is examining the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The disclosure that Clinton used a private email address and a home server while secretary of state came as Clinton is preparing to announce whether she will seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

David Kendall, Clinton’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment about whether Clinton would comply with the request.

Her office said March 10 she gave 30,490 work-related emails to the State Department, which is reviewing them for public release. Another 32,830 emails, which Clinton said involved personal matters such as wedding planning or yoga routines, were deleted.

Gowdy’s letter to Kendall said he should respond by April 3 on whether Clinton will comply with the request.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has said he would prefer not to subpoena Clinton. His panel is also looking into the issue of her communications.

Gowdy’s committee has previously subpoenaed the State Department for materials and sent letters asking Internet service providers to preserve any records they may have on Benghazi.

Gowdy has said his panel lacks the authority to issue a subpoena for the Clinton server. He said March 15 on Fox News Sunday that the full House may need to go to court to get access to the server.
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With assistance from Mark Drajem and Billy House in Washington.

Speaker Boehner meets with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is to serve as chairman of the select committee to investigate the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi. (SpeakerBoehner/Flickr)

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