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Benghazi Committee Democrats Say They’ll Release Witness Transcripts

Politics Reuters Top News

Benghazi Committee Democrats Say They’ll Release Witness Transcripts


By Susan Cornwell and Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Democratic minority on a U.S. congressional committee investigating the attack in Benghazi, Libya, intend to defy the committee’s Republican leaders by releasing the transcript of a closed-door interview with a former senior aide to Hillary Clinton, they said on Monday.

The announcement came six days after Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the leader of U.S. House Republicans, went on television to boast that the federally funded investigation had successfully dented Clinton’s poll numbers as she runs for the Democratic presidential nomination.

McCarthy, who is seeking to become the next House speaker, later clarified that he had not meant to suggest that harming the Democratic front-runner’s chances at winning the November 2016 election was the committee’s purpose.

This has not stopped Democrats, including Clinton herself, from seizing on his comments as confirmation of what they have believed all along.

“Despite claims that the Committee would be run with integrity, Republicans have engaged in a series of selective leaks of inaccurate and incomplete information in an effort to attack Secretary Clinton,” the committee’s Democrats wrote in their letter on Monday to Trey Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman.

To combat this, the Democrats said they would start releasing transcripts from the committee’s closed-door interviews with witnesses “to correct the record,” beginning with that of Cheryl Mills.

Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department at the time of the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, by militants on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. J. Christopher Stevens, then the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was among four Americans killed.

The committee’s Republicans expressed dismay at the Democrats’ plan. The transcripts should not be released to avoid tainting future witnesses’ memories, among other reasons, according to committee spokesman Jamal Ware.

In deciding otherwise, “Democrats have shown their nakedly political motivation, willingness to violate the letter and spirit of House Rules, and their desire to defend Secretary Clinton without regard for the integrity of the investigation,” Ware’s statement said.

Spokesmen for Clinton did not respond to requests for comment, although Clinton has been adamant that her testimony, due to be given to the committee on Oct. 22, be in a public hearing. Mills also sought to have the transcript of her August interview released.

The committee Democrats, led by Elijah Cummings, released excerpts from Mills’ testimony that they said rebutted Republican allegations that Clinton was unengaged the night of the attack and that her staff had undue influence over a later State Department inquiry.

“(Clinton) was pretty emphatic about wanting whatever to be done and whatever were assets that could be deployed, if that was both effective and possible to be done,” Mills told the committee.

Clinton did not hide her anger at the committee in an interview with NBC News on Monday.

“This committee was set up, as they have admitted, for the purpose of making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans,” she said, jabbing at the air with a pointed finger. “I would never have done that.”

The Democrats said they would give their Republican colleagues five days to notify them whether any portion of Mills’ transcript “be withheld from the American people,” after which they would release it.

(Writing by Jonathan Allen; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Photo: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), official photo.



  1. JPHALL October 5, 2015

    Finally! It is about time that Dems stood up and took a position instead of being punching bags.

    1. FT66 October 6, 2015

      No more of being punched. It is time to punch back and straight on faces.

  2. paulyz October 5, 2015

    Better heed the advise of your long-time political advisor Hillary, & “Lawyer up”.

    1. Susan October 6, 2015

      Except her political advisors never told her to lawyer up. Anonymous sources in attack job articles just say they did. I have a bridge to sell you too.

    2. Grannysmovin October 6, 2015

      For what – and please provide documented proof.

      1. Independent1 October 7, 2015

        Don’t hold your breath on Pauly being able to provide documented anything – I’m not even sure he knows what that means.

    3. Insinnergy October 6, 2015

      Hey Pauly… half your wit is missing.
      Also, please learn to spell.

      1. Independent1 October 7, 2015

        When you only had two brain cells to begin with, missing half of them doesn’t leave you with much does it??

  3. Dominick Vila October 6, 2015

    Where was McCarthy and all the outrage when over a dozen U.S. Embassies and Consulates were attacked when W was in office? Oops, I almost forgot, we are not supposed to talk about things like that…only Hillary.
    It is about time some Democrats got enough spine to fight back and expose the cynicism of the party that controlled the White House on 9/11/01, whose CiC presided over the worst period of Islamic terrorism in history, members of the party that used deceit to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and was not a threat to us, the party that declared Saudi Arabia, the homeland of the 9/11 mastermind, planners, financiers, and 16 of the 19 terrorists that carried out the attacks, a Most Favored Nation…and attacked someone else to project an illusion of revenge, where there was none.

    I have to give Republicans credit though. It takes a lot of nerve for members of a party with a record like their to attack someone else on foreign and domestic policies! Like they say, the best defense is a good offense…

    1. Susan October 6, 2015

      They are desperate. As well they should be. They have nothing else to run on.

    2. Independent1 October 7, 2015

      Isn’t it interesting that Jamal Ware could complain about the Dem’s release of the transcripts:

      “The committee’s Republicans expressed dismay at the Democrats’ plan. The
      transcripts should not be released to avoid tainting future witnesses’
      memories, among other reasons, according to committee spokesman Jamal

      How is it that the Dems release of the full transcripts would supposedly “taint future witnesses’ memories”, but somehow the chairman of the committee releasing obviously selected clearly-biased portions of transcripts wouldn’t??? All Republicans can ever do is come up with some convoluted reasoning on virtually everything they choose to use in obstructing some efforts by the Dems.

      1. Dominick Vila October 7, 2015

        This stunt confirms the cynicism of the Republicans participating in this witch hunt. I can’t say that I am surprised. The last thing they want is the truth, or anything that exposes the real reason for this publicly funded charade.
        Hopefully this will serve as a lesson learned to Democrats. We should act accordingly when we win control of the Senate although, judging by past behavior, it is evident that we don’t have the stomach to emulate the far right, regardless of how beneficial their tactics may be politically.

  4. FT66 October 6, 2015

    Republicans were not aware the person they were playing around. Not HRC. She is a real fighter. It takes two to Tango. She will dance with them until they raise their hands up.

    1. Independent1 October 7, 2015

      I’m a little curious as to one of the statements Hillary made when she was a bit tiffed: she said something about being more than willing to testify again, and if she did, she may reveal some things that the Repubs would wish she hadn’t (words to that effect).

      1. FT66 October 7, 2015

        Just be patient a little bit Inde, Oct. 22 is not far. I can assure you, all CARDS will be spread over the table.

  5. bobnstuff October 6, 2015

    Ware’s worried about the integrity of the committee. I think that train has left the station.

  6. docb October 6, 2015

    Love Love it…More of this Dems!

  7. LCR78 October 6, 2015

    There are numerous books on Benghazi and lots of testimony by the same witnesses from other hearings. Doubt that much more could be said or done to taint a witness. Politicians don’t like public hearings because the American public gets to hear how stupid and self serving most politicians are.

  8. John Murchison October 6, 2015

    About time this farcical committee got treated the way it deserves.

  9. Jerry October 6, 2015

    This has been an obvious goal of Republicans in Congress since the election in 2012. Before that, they were centered on trying to make Obama look like the bad person concerning Benghazi. After he was re-elected, they suddenly turned all their attention to Hillary and started trying to degrade her and make her look like the reason 4 Americans were killed that night, or trying to cover up why they had been. They have never acknowledged that over 30 other Americans were saved that night from being killed, and that possibly the 4 that died may have been had the Ambassador not insisted on waiting until everyone else at the embassy was taken to a safe place before he would leave. It’s always been about politics and trying to derail the obvious frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. They have succeeded in making the same people who hate Obama into hating Hillary now just as bad, but maybe this revelation and admission (albeit by accident ) from the man wanting to be the next Speaker of the House may open the eyes of a few of those to what the Republicans have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on now 7 committee investigations and Fox has eagerly broadcast on their news shows and right wing hosts shows. I don’t expect to see many converts, but at least now, we have the proof that the Benghazi conspiracy has always been about politics and nothing more.

  10. Lynda Groom October 6, 2015

    Well it about time. I can’t believe that the Demos sat on their hands for over a year before coming to this decision. Somebody has to release something from this ‘transparent’ committee. I would be LMFAO if this was not so tragic. Congress in action is like watching paint dry or grass grow. Its happening, but hardly noticeable to the human eye.

  11. geraldhoey October 6, 2015

    Remember that the Benghazi fake ” scandal ” was invented by Fox News in 2012 when they thought they had found the magic bullet to kill Obama’s re-election bid. They hammered away at it 24/7 until the election. Strangely enough, Hillary Clinton was hardly mentioned in their narrative. But when the election was over and Obama easily re-elected, the Republicans did an immediate pivot and turned Benghazi into an attack on Hillary Clinton. 6 Republican investigations couldn’t find diddly squat. Then they established the latest committee as Kevin McCarthy has admitted to attack Hillary Clinton. When the Benghazi bullshit was going nowhere they segued into the email fake ” scandal.” Now as this seems also to be collapsing I’m sure the Republicans will have some new fake “scandal” to distract the people from the clown bus. That’s what they do.

    1. Insinnergy October 6, 2015

      The selective outrage machine must be fed.


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