Ahead of Hillary Clinton's appearance before the Select Committee on Benghazi later this week, House Democrats released a report Monday concluding that interviews conducted by the panel discredit GOP claims about Clinton's actions during the 2012 attacks.
"This report shows that no witnesses we interviewed substantiated these wild Republican conspiracy theories about Secretary Clinton and Benghazi. It's time to bring this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to an end," Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said in a statement accompanying the 146-page report.
Based on 54 interviews, the Democrats said the committee found no evidence that Clinton ordered the military to stand down on the night of the attacks, no evidence she personally approved a reduction in security before the attacks and no evidence Clinton or her aides oversaw an operation to scrub or destroy documents related to Benghazi, among other findings.
Documents obtained by the committee confirmed Clinton's earlier testimony about her actions that night, the report said, as did the interviews with Mills and Sullivan.
After Clinton learned about the attack in the afternoon of Sep. 11, 2012, for example, the report said Clinton held a phone call with then-Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf, a conference call with her closest State Department aides and a secure video teleconference with the White House and agency officials about the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Mills (Clinton's Deputy of Staff.) told the panel that she remembers during the video teleconference, Clinton "said we need to be taking whatever steps we can, to do whatever we can to secure our people" and said she remembered President Obama being 100 percent behind whatever needed to be done, the report said.
The report which you can read here, is actually pretty interesting, and it REALLY undermines the Republican talking points on Benghazi and Hillary Clinton's culpability.
Get a load of this portion here:
Chairman Gowdy has attempted to defend the Select Committee’s record by explaining
that it has broken new ground in witness interviews. On October 7, 2015, he wrote: “The
Committee has interviewed over 50 witnesses to date who have never before been interviewed.”
However, this claim is inaccurate, and the Washington Post Fact Checker referred to it as an
effort to “hype the numbers.”
The Select Committee has conducted a total of 54 transcribed interviews and depositions
to date. Previous congressional committees and the independent Accountability Review Board
(ARB) had already spoken to 23 of these individuals. In other words, the actual number of
“new” interviews is 31—significantly lower than the 50 interviews cited by the Chairman.
Moreover, the majority of the Select Committee’s 31 new interviews have been with
State Department employees, and they have included current and former campaign officials, IT
employees, press officials, and others who had little or nothing to do with the attacks in
The reputation of this House Select Committee is now so in tatters that Trey Gowdy is now attempting a little damage control:
Benghazi committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is now returning $6,000 in political donations that are indirectly tied to a PAC that ran a nasty anti-Hillary Clinton ad showing the grave of the U.S. ambassador killed in the 2012 attacks, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Gowdy is coughing up the money after the paper inquired about ties between Gowdy and Dan Backer, who used to serve as treasurer for Gowdy's now-defunct leadership PAC. Backer is now the treasurer of the The Stop Hillary PAC, which aired the ad that flashed images of all four Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks in addition to Ambassador Chris Stevens' grave, during the first Democratic presidential primary debate last week.
Hillary Clinton is going to walk into that committee hearing on Thursday with the wind at her back, and face a room full of nervous House Republicans who are going to be hyper aware of the cameras focused on them and second guessing every one of their questions.
It should be highly entertaining.