Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign charged that the delay of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report into the 2012 terrorist attack is proof that the probe is purely politicized.
Bloomberg first reported that the release of the findings of Chairman Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) committee would be pushed into campaign season, but Republicans contest that’s because of uncooperative figures in the investigation.
Asked today if that “reeked” of politics, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Gowdy is doing “fine work” and “they’ve got a lot more work to do.”
“They could clean this up a whole lot quicker if the administration and Secretary — former Secretary Clinton were in a position to actually cooperate with the committee and turn over the kind of information that we’ve been seeking for some time. But the administration has made it virtually impossible to get to the facts surrounding Benghazi,” Boehner told reporters. “And so when we have the facts, we’ll have a report.”
Boehner said he sees Gowdy “from time to time to get a little update on how they’re doing. That’s close enough.”
But in a statement moments ago, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta charged that “sadly, Republicans are determined to continue to exploit this tragedy in an effort to try and hurt her campaign.”
“The Gowdy Committee’s admission today that it will not finish its investigation until 2016 is the most telling evidence yet that their investigation is solely about playing politics in the 2016 presidential campaign. This action is the latest example in a broad concerted effort by Republicans and their allies to launch false attacks against Hillary Clinton’s record and deep experience on foreign affairs and national security,” Podesta said.
“There have already been 21 congressional hearings, five independent or bipartisan reports, and millions of tax dollars spent in the process of investigating this three year old tragedy. This investigation would now be longer than the investigations of Iran-Contra, the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate and 9/11,” he added.
“Hillary Clinton has already spent five hours testifying at two congressional committee hearings but, as she’s been saying since last year, she’s happy to do it again. Unfortunately, Republicans insist her testimony is done behind closed doors, where the American public is unable to see their true, politically motivated intentions.”
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which came during the final weeks of the last presidential campaign. Much of the recent committee activity has been around Clinton’s missing emails.
A month ago, Gowdy requested that Clinton turn over to a neutral third party for analysis the home server she used for work and personal emails.
“As I have said many times, we have no interest in Secretary Clinton’s personal emails, but the American people have a clear right to the public records from her time as secretary of State,” Gowdy said then. He had suggested perhaps a retired judge or an archivist to comb through the server that Clinton said her staff sorted into emails that should be turned over to the State Department and those which should be deleted.
Today, Gowdy said he received a response from Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall.
“I appreciate Mr. Kendall’s timely response to our letter but respectfully disagree with his assertion former Secretary Clinton has answered all questions surrounding the unusual email arrangement she had with herself,” Gowdy said in a statement. “The press conference held by former Secretary Clinton and the subsequent efforts at clarifying her remarks served to create more questions than answers. I also would note that if the Committee had called former Secretary Clinton when Democrats and her attorney first encouraged us to, the committee would not have had possession of the 300 emails we now have or known about her exclusive use of a personal server and email account to conduct official business.”
Gowdy said the committee “is now in possession of thousands of pages of documents from the [Accountability Review Board] review no other committee has had access to and the committee expects more ARB documents to be produced by the Department of State in the days ahead.”
“These documents, as well as other documents never before produced to any committee of Congress and transcribed interviews with witnesses never before questioned by any committee of Congress, will aid the committee as it prepares to invite Secretary Clinton to appear,” he added.
“Beyond that, the committee has Mr. Kendall’s letter under advisement and will issue a response tomorrow setting out a reasonable path forward with respect to Secretary Clinton’s appearances to discuss both Benghazi as well as congressional efforts to ensure the public record is complete with respect to her tenure as Secretary of State.”