Newly released emails suggest that the Clinton camp manipulated a Senate Benghazi hearing in January of 2013 by feeding specific questions to Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez, who at the time was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The emails, obtained by Citizens United, show Chelsea Clinton (who went by Diane Reynolds on clintonemail.com) asking former Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines how the hearing is going.
Reines was very forthcoming, according to Catherine Herridge of Fox News:
“We wired it that Menendez would provide an opportunity to address two topics we needed to debunk (her actions/whereabouts on 9/11, and these email from Chris Stevens about moving locations,)” Clinton media gatekeeper Philippe Reines wrote to Chelsea Clinton the morning of the Jan. 23, 2013 hearing.
Not surprisingly, the first question from Menendez that day covered both topics referenced by Reines.
Menendez asked for Clinton’s “insights on the decision-making process regarding the location of the Mission.” The senator added, “can you also in your response, you touched upon it in your opening statement, but what actions were you and your staff taking the night of September 11 and into September 12?”
The then-secretary of state had an answer on both fronts. She told the committee that “[Ambassador] Chris [Stevens] was committed to not only being in Benghazi but to the location,” and that on the night of the attack, “I was notified of the attack shortly after 4:00 p.m. Over the following hours, we were in continuous meetings and conversations both within the department with our team in Tripoli, with the interagency and internationally.”
In the most interesting moment during the Jan. 2013 hearing, Clinton infamously bellowed at Republican Sen. Ron Johnson,”What difference, at this point, does it make?!” This was after she was pressed about the false YouTube video narrative. Another interesting moment came when Senator Rand Paul asked Clinton about the transfer of weapons into Syria from Libya and through Turkey. She denied having any knowledge of it, but took the question “for the record.” Senator Paul said at the time, “Had I been president at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable.”
But for the most part, the hearing was a snoozefest in which she was asked only a few tough questions and answered none of them adequately.
Citizens United said in a statement:
“This email chain provides a rare behind the scenes look at which Benghazi-related issues the Clinton camp had concerns about going into Secretary Clinton’s January 2013 testimony on Capitol Hill, and what they had apparently plotted out beforehand with a Democrat committee member to deal with those concerns. Citizens United will continue to release all new Benghazi emails we receive through our FOIA lawsuits as they come in — the American people have a right to know the full picture.”
Fox News asked both the Clinton campaign and Menendez’s office if they had coordinated before the hearing, what was meant by the term “wired,” and how the email exchange “was consistent with the principle of independent congressional oversight.”
There was no immediate response from the Clinton campaign or Menendez, Fox reported. But the answers to all three questions are pretty obvious. One — “Yes.” Two — “Fixed.” Three — “Come on, when has our behavior at these hearings ever been about ‘oversight’? It’s always been about running interference for fellow Democrats.”