Washington (CNN)Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Democrat on the House's select committee investigating Benghazi, called for the panel's Republicans to make Hillary Clinton's emails on the 2012 terrorist attack public.
Panel's head Democrat: Make Clinton's Benghazi emails public
Cummings' request comes as Clinton and her advisers are facing questions about why the former secretary of state exclusively used a private email account during her four years as America's top diplomat and never had an official government email address.
Clinton's emails have also been at the center of debate around the House's select committee investigating the attack that resulted in four dead Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens. The State Department said Monday that they produced around 300 of Clinton's personal emails to the select committee.
"Last month, the Committee received Secretary Clinton's emails relating to Benghazi, and now that we have them, I believe Chairman Gowdy should join with me to make them available to the American public so they can read their contents for themselves," Cummings said in a statement Tuesday morning.
Cummings also defended Clinton against Republican attacks that her use of a personal email account broke federal guidelines.
"It has been public for several years that Secretary Clinton used her personal email account, apparently following the pattern of previous Secretaries of State," Cummings said in a statement . "Although Secretary Clinton has produced her emails to the State Department, it is unclear from press reports whether previous Secretaries have done the same."
Nick Merrill, Clinton's spokesman, said Tuesday that, "When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes."
Using personal email as a sole method of communication, however, does appear to break rules outlined by the National Archives and Records Administration. The government agency stipulates that personal email can only be used in "emergency situations," and when used, the emails "are captured and managed in accordance with agency record-keeping practices."
Republicans on the committee did not respond to CNN's questions about making the emails public.
Clinton agreed to testify to the committee late in 2014, according to Democrats on the panel, but Gowdy, the committee chairman, has said he would wait to call her until all the emails are received. In the past, committee aides have said Clinton could be called to testify around a month after the emails were received.
Clinton's exclusive use of a personal email address was first made public by a New York Times story published Monday night. The Times reported that Clinton's personal email account was discovered by Gowdy's House committee when State -- through Clinton -- provided those emails to the committee.
But Democrats on Tuesday looked to downplay the idea that Republicans on the committee were the first to discover the personal email accounts. They noted that Gawker reported in 2013, based on emails obtained by a Romanian hacker named "Guccifer," that Clinton was using a "clintonemail.com" domain name in emails to advisers and friends.