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Hillary Clinton's lawyer says that the 2016 presidential candidate will appear before the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, but only once -- not twice, as its GOP chair requested.

In a letter to the committee released by the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Clinton's attorney says she is still "ready and willing" to testify publicly as soon as the week of May 18.

"She will stay as long as necessary to answer the Committee's questions, but will not prolong the Committee's efforts further by appearing on two separate occasions when one will suffice," he added.

Gowdy communications director Jamal Ware said that the committee "will take his response into consideration" and determine a path forward.

"The committee has consistently shown it is interested in getting the facts and doing so in a deliberate and diligent manner," Ware added. "As a result of the Benghazi Committee’s efforts, the American people now know about Secretary Clinton’s unusual email arrangement with herself, something that would not be known had the committee rushed to call the former secretary in November as Committee Democrats pushed."

Cummings and other Democrats accuse Republican chairman Trey Gowdy of dragging out the investigation and hearings in order to hurt Clinton politically later in the 2016 campaign.

"Chairman Gowdy should take yes for an answer and finally schedule the hearing. Dragging out this process further into the presidential election season sacrifices any chance that the American people will see it as serious or legitimate," Cummings said.

Clinton has said since at least January that she was prepared to testify before the panel.

- NBC News