House Republicans leading the investigation into the fatal attacks in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 announced Monday that they would not release the transcript of last week’s deposition of former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal, who testified behind closed doors.
Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. said the committee would honor its policy of not releasing transcripts from interviews to encourage witness participation.
But the Select Committee on Benghazi did release emails to and from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that were not turned over by Blumenthal, but not the State Department.
“Before today, Chairman Gowdy had not officially released a single email from a single witness in this entire investigation, which has lasted more than a year,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, ranking member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi said. “Now, he has apparently decided that this one witness is so critical that his emails—and his alone—must be released. Yet the Chairman refuses to release Mr. Blumenthal’s deposition transcript, which includes his responses to hundreds of questions posed by Republicans about these very same emails and puts them in proper context.”
Gowdy requested the State Department provide the House copies of these emails by the end of the day, if they have them.
“Once again the Benghazi Committee uncovers information that should already be part of the public record but was not made available to the American people or congressional investigators,” Gowdy said. “These emails should have been part of the public record when Secretary Clinton left office and at a bare minimum included when the State Department released Clinton’s self-selected records on Libya. For that reason, the committee has made the decision to release the latest set of Clinton’s public records unearthed by the committee.”
Republicans say several emails call into question whether the intelligence and advice provided by Blumenthal was unsolicited, as Clinton has said.
The committee issued a subpoena for Blumenthal and his emails after news reports indicated that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was sent information from Blumenthal about the situation in Libya during the civil war that led to the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. Blumenthal was a senior adviser to Bill Clinton between 1997 and 2001. Clinton sent some of that information to aides in the State Department, according to the New York Times.
Republicans said they discovered 60 new Libya emails between Blumenthal and Clinton, suggesting that the State Department or the presidential candidate withheld documents the committee had requested.
Democrats have been complaining for weeks that the committee is taking too long in its investigation and just wants to hurt Clinton's chances in the 2016 presidential election
The Committee was established more than a year ago to investigate the attacks in Benghazi, and it has spent approximately $3.5 million in taxpayer funds to date, they say. It has lasted longer than multiple previous investigations, including the investigations of Iran-Contra, the Kennedy assassination, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Hurricane Katrina.