Cummings Statement On Gowdy Plan to Release Benghazi Report Months Before 2016 Presidential Election
WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, issued the following statement in response to reports that Chairman Trey Gowdy does not plan to release the Select Committee’s findings until “just months before the 2016 presidential election.”
“Does anybody even remember anymore that we were supposed to be investigating the attacks in Benghazi? With the Republicans’ obsessive focus on Hillary Clinton, and their now stated intention to drag out this political charade until just months before the 2016 election, the Select Committee no longer bears any resemblance to its original purpose. At the Chairman’s stated pace, this investigation is on track to last longer than the investigations of Iran-Contra, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, and 9/11, and it will squander more than $6 million in taxpayer funds in the process. Instead of targeting Secretary Clinton, we should honor the promises we made to the victims’ families to not make this investigation a political football and work to ensure that this never happens again.”
Background on Chairman Gowdy’s Original Position that the Select Committee Would Hold a Public Hearing with Secretary Clinton Within 30 Days After Receiving Her Benghazi-Related Emails:
- On January 27, 2015, Chairman Gowdy stated:
“[W]hat I’m not going to do, is ask my colleagues to question her when they don’t have all of the relevant documents—her emails, from either account, from how many accounts she had—we don’t have the emails. So, we’re not going do that. It’s up to them [the State Department] how quickly we can do it. I said we would do it within 30 days of you producing the information we need.”
- On August 11, 2014, the State Department began producing documents to the Select Committee that were responsive to prior Congressional requests, including emails to and from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.
- In October 2014, Secretary Clinton agreed to testify at a public hearing before the Select Committee as early as December 2014.
- On February 13, 2015, the State Department completed its production to the Select Committee of Secretary Clinton’s emails relating to the Benghazi attacks.
- On February 27, 2015, State Department officials confirmed during a meeting with Select Committee staff that they completed their production of Secretary Clinton’s emails relating to the Benghazi attacks.
- Based on Chairman Gowdy’s statements, the Select Committee should have held a public hearing with Secretary Clinton in March.
- Instead, on March 31, 2015, Chairman Gowdy changed course dramatically and requested that Secretary Clinton appear before the Select Committee for a transcribed interview.
- Chairman Gowdy explained the reason for this change was that the New York Times published an article about the Secretary’s use of a personal email account—a fact Committee Members had known for more than six months.
- Chairman Gowdy also claimed that one of the reasons for a transcribed interview was to protect Secretary Clinton’s “privacy,” yet she made clear last October that she would testify publicly as early as last December.