Benghazi panel summons Clinton to answer for emails

Benghazi
by J.C. Derrick
Posted 4/23/15, 05:05 pm

WASHINGTON—A U.S. House committee investigating what happened before, during, and after the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, today summoned former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear twice in the next two months.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the Select Committee on Benghazi, sent a letter to Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, who on Wednesday informed the panel that last month his client answered all questions related to her exclusive use of private email during her tenure. Gowdy’s next-day response included 136 unanswered questions about Clinton’s “email arrangement with herself.”

“The press conference held by former Secretary Clinton and the subsequent efforts at clarifying her remarks served to create more questions than answers,” wrote Gowdy, a former prosecutor. “Suffice it to say, our members have more questions.”

Gowdy reiterated the committee’s desire to question Clinton first about her emails and then separately about the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. “Unless we hear differently from you,” he wrote, the committee will plan a hearing the week of May 18. “If that results in assurances that the public record is indeed complete,” the committee will schedule a second hearing no later than June 18.

Clinton, who officially launched a campaign for president earlier this month, informed the committee last November that she would testify. Gowdy noted that timing would have precluded knowledge of Clinton’s private email server and her returning those emails to the State Department. At the time, he said, the committee only possessed eight of Clinton’s emails, and the State Department has continued to produce documents no other committee has accessed.

“Thank goodness the committee did not schedule Secretary Clinton’s appearance when some asked us to, or else that hearing would have been woefully and now obviously premature,” Gowdy wrote, offering to conduct the email proceeding in private if Clinton had privacy concerns.

The committee’s five Democrats released a statement charging Gowdy with running the committee at a “glacial pace” and accused Republicans of trying to drag out the investigation into next year’s presidential election. 

“The Republicans’ multi-year search for evidence to back up their Benghazi conspiracy theories has turned up nothing,” said ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. “The Select Committee has identified no evidence—documentary, testimonial, or otherwise—to support claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, approved an illicit weapons program, or any other wild allegation Republicans have made for years.”

While Republicans have remained the primary drivers behind the investigation, seven Democrats joined them in voting to create the Benghazi panel last year.

Parents of the victims have told me they still have unanswered questions and support the committee’s work. Pat Smith, mother of murdered foreign service officer Sean Smith, previously said she held Clinton directly responsible for what happened: “Hillary killed my son.”

J.C. Derrick

J.C. is WORLD Radio’s managing editor. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012 and eventually becoming WORLD’s Washington Bureau chief. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

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