The Republican chairman of a Home panel investigating the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, complained Tuesday about delays in getting emails involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and a longtime confidant.
But committee Democrats countered that delay was understandable right after the committee expanded its scope from a probe of the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, which includes the U.S. ambassador, to a broader examination of U.S. policy toward Libya.
“I will leave it to you to figure out regardless of whether there was a failure to make on the former secretary’s part or a failure to generate on the Division of State’s behalf,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told reporters Tuesday. “But clearly the committee should have gotten this information sooner.”
Democrats mentioned Gowdy, the chairman of the Benghazi panel, has lately begun searching for emails and other documents that go far beyond Benghazi or the terrorist attacks. They cite a Could 29 letter Gowdy sent to Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton adviser and buddy who testified for a number of hours in closed session Tuesday.
The letter seeks “any and all documents and communications” sent to or received by Blumenthal related to Libya, “but not limited to Benghazi and Tripoli.” The letter also asks for info on weapons discovered in, imported to or removed from Libya. Gowdy made related, broad requests in a March subpoena issued to the State Division.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Gowdy and other Republicans were continuing to “move the goalposts in terms of what they are asking for from the State Division.”
A member of the Benghazi panel, Schiff said the shift in techniques was occurring “out of aggravation (by Republicans) that they weren’t able to find anything of any interest on Benghazi — that is, anything that hadn’t currently been disclosed by the eight other investigations” conducted more than the past quite a few years.
Blumenthal was pressed for answers about frequent emails on Libya that he sent Clinton when she served as secretary of state. Blumenthal worked in the White Home under President Bill Clinton and is a longtime pal and adviser to the Clinton household.
Emerging for a break immediately after about 45 minutes of closed-door testimony, Blumenthal told reporters that the tone of the questioning was “civil.”
The committee announced Monday evening that it had received roughly 60 new emails totaling 120 pages from Blumenthal. The emails are between Clinton and Blumenthal and have been not previously developed to the committee or released to the public, a committee spokeswoman stated.
Blumenthal’s function in sending the close to-monthly missives emerged when practically 350 pages of emails about the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi had been publicly released last month.
His testimony comes days after Clinton formally kicked off her presidential campaign on Saturday.
State Division spokesman Alec Gerlach said the division has worked to make public all emails received from Clinton.
“We provided the committee with a subset of documents that matched its request and will continue to perform with them going forward,” Gerlach stated. “Secretary (John) Kerry has been clear that the State Division will be each transparent and thorough in its obligations to the public on this matter.”