With Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton set to testify before a House committee on Thursday about the 2012 Benghazi attacks, members of both parties appeared on television to discuss how the former secretary of State handled the security situation in Libya.
The Republican-led investigation into the attacks on two U.S. compounds that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, has been criticized as a partisan investigation.
Seven committees that looked into the attacks and the role Clinton and the Obama administration played in properly addressing security matters. The Clinton presidential campaign has accused the most recent committee of bias, particularly after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., boasted that the committee’s work had driven down Clinton’s popularity with voters.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the special House committee to investigate the attacks, bluntly dismissed McCarthy’s statement Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“Shut up talking about things that you don’t know anything about,” he said. “Unless you’re on the committee you have no idea what we’ve done, why we’ve done it, and what new facts we have found.”
Gowdy said the investigation has taken on new importance after recently receiving the ambassador’s emails, which previous inquiries never “bothered to access.”
“If you want a window into Libya and what was happening in the weeks and months before these four were killed, why would you not look at the ambassador’s emails?” he said. “He was a prolific emailer.”
Stevens asked for more security at the embassy because of increased violence but instead received an email from Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal, “who knows nothing about Libya,” Gowdy said.
The committee does not have all of Clinton’s emails, which were kept on a private server, Gowdy said, but it is time to “go ahead” and call her to testify.
Clinton said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that after seven investigations she doesn’t “have very much to add.”
“It’s pretty clear that whatever they might have thought they were doing they ended up becoming a partisan arm of the Republican National Committee with an overwhelming focus on trying to – as they admitted, drive down my poll numbers,” she said. “I will do my best to answer their questions, but I don’t really know what their objective is right now.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who are both on the Benghazi committee, faced off with differing opinions on the investigation.
Pompeo said it was necessary to get the American people “answers,” while Schiff maintained it was all theatrics.
“Apart from damning Hillary Clinton,” the committee “has no reason for existing,” Schiff said. He cited a pending wrongful-termination suit being brought by Maj. Bradley Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve and former investigator with the Republican-led congressional committee, who said he was fired after resisting pressure to write reports bashing Clinton.
“After 17 months, $4.5 million, we have nothing new to tell the families, apart from that (Clinton had) a private email server,” he said. “That doesn’t tell us anything about Benghazi.”