Cummings Issues Statement on Benghazi Report Vote to Correct the Record
WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, released the following statement after today’s secret vote on the Select Committee’s final partisan report:
Republicans are using procedural rules to impose a gag order on us, although we understand they have already made inaccurate statements of their own about today’s closed-door session.
House Rules prohibit public discussion of anything that occurred in executive session.
However, based on information completely outside of today’s business meeting, we can say the following.
First, there is no end in sight for this partisan Benghazi Committee.
If you thought a vote today would be the end of this partisan chapter of our history, you would be wrong.
The Select Committee is poised to last for months—perhaps until right before the presidential election—and that appears to be the Republican plan.
Republicans have moved the goal post again, and they now plan to delay the end of the Select Committee to make an entirely new request for the executive branch to conduct a classification review of a large volume of documents, the vast majority of which were never used to question any witness and are not even mentioned in their report.
Second, Republicans are not going to stop conducting transcribed interviews.
In fact, they have now scheduled one for next week.
It will be with Stephen Hedger, the head of legislative affairs at the Defense Department.
He has absolutely nothing to do with Benghazi—not before, during, or after.
The Republicans are hauling him in for a deposition in apparent retaliation for sending a letter a few months ago exposing their abuses.
Since the interview is occurring next week, nothing this individual tells us will be incorporated into the report.
Finally, there is no reason we could not have had a portion of this debate today in public, in full view of the press and the American people.
House Rules provide limited reasons to go into closed session, and none of those reasons is to silence criticism or avoid embarrassment.
Republicans have not had one single public event in nearly nine months—since the 11-hour hearing with Secretary Clinton last October.
They want no part of any public debate about their partisan report and its many flaws.
They want no part of any fact-checking that we and others no doubt would do.
With regard to the Republican claim that Democrats did not object to the substance of the final Republican report, that claim is laughable.
As everyone knows, we issued our own report documenting in detail the many deficiencies in this investigation, and we posted our minority views on our website making our disagreements crystal clear.
Any suggestion that Democrats oppose the public release of unclassified information – transcripts or documents—is wholly inaccurate. But this Committee cannot and should not go on indefinitely.
To correct the record, we call on the Chairman to immediately release a transcript of the unclassified portion of today’s “executive session” proceedings.