By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans on Tuesday asked the State Department to hand over numerous documents related to Hillary Clinton's use of private email while she was secretary of state.
Clinton, a likely Democratic presidential contender and Republicans' top target in the run-up to the 2016 election, has come under scrutiny for using a personal email address to conduct government business, as well as a private computer server to store that correspondence.
Clinton has said she gave copies of all her work-related emails to the State Department. But the Republican National Committee is keeping up the pressure on her, submitting two Freedom of Information Act requests related to her email use.
The Republicans seek "records related to the configuration, vetting and/or encryption" of Clinton's BlackBerry and copies of any "separation statements" signed by Clinton and her top aides.
Officials leaving government use these statements to vow they have surrendered classified and unclassified documents related to federal business. The statement outlines criminal penalties for "falsifying or concealing" any relevant material.
There is no record of Clinton having signed such a statement, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. She said Clinton's predecessors Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice also had not signed separation statements.
Earlier, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Clinton's handling of her government emails violated the spirit of these agreements.
"The RNC intends to learn whether Clinton violated State Department guidelines in not signing the statement, or if she signed it making a false statement, and as a result, violated the law," Priebus said in a statement.
Clinton's office last week said she sent and received 62,320 emails during four years at the State Department. After a review, 30,490 official emails were handed over and 31,830 were withheld as personal records.
Republicans say that review was not enough. They want Clinton to hand over her entire email server so someone unaffiliated with Clinton can verify that she turned over all documents related to her work at the State Department.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner sidestepped a question about whether lawmakers would subpoena the server, located at Clinton's home in New York state.
"Some neutral third party is going to have to make some decisions about what documents are quote 'personal' and which ones are public record," Boehner told reporters on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Emily Stephenson and Leslie Adler)