WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she doesn’t believe there should be a special select congressional committee to investigate the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.
Speaking before an audience at Philanthropy New York Wednesday, Clinton stated that she was “absolutely” satisfied with the answers she has received about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
“Of course there are a lot of reasons why despite all of the hearings, all of the information that has been provided, some choose not to be satisfied and choose to continue to move forward,” Clinton said. “That’s their choice and I do not believe there is any reason for it to continue in this way, but they get to call the shots in the Congress.”
Republicans have accused the White House of misleading the nation in the heart of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign by playing down intelligence suggesting Benghazi was a major, al Qaeda-linked terrorist attack.
Democrats have said the investigations are politically motivated and aimed at hurting congressional Democrats in the fall mid-term elections and damaging a Clinton presidential campaign if she decides to seek the White House again.
House Speaker John Boehner announced last week he would create a select committee to examine the response to the Benghazi attack. Legislative aides said a vote to authorize the panel is expected sometime this week. On Monday, Boehner said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., would head the investigation.
“With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability and justice,” Boehner said Monday in a statement.
He called Gowdy, a former prosecutor in his second term in Congress, “as dogged, focused and serious-minded as they come.”
The committee will have “the strongest authority possible to root out all the facts,” Boehner said.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and whip Steny Hoyer sent Boehner a letter accusing House Republicans of “extreme and counter-productive partisanship” in the investigation. They say “a fundamentally different approach” is needed for a select committee, including equal representation on the committee.
“There will be people critical of the process and the results no matter what,” Gowdy said in an interview. “That’s not the jury. That is not the audience. The jury is reasonable-minded, open-minded people who say, ‘Show me a fair process, let me draw my conclusions and let’s finally, in the words of the speaker, get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi.'”
Also last week, Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on May 21 about Benghazi. The State Department said that Kerry will not testify at the hearing, but during a news conference Tuesday, Kerry said that he will cooperate and that he has “nothing to hide.”
“I’ve guaranteed that we would cooperate in every single way. We have, and I will, and the Department will. That’s our obligation. And of course, we will,” Kerry noted. “But I think everybody needs to take a hard look at – and sort of measure what’s been already put out there versus where this effort is going. And you see a very partisan response on the Hill with respect to it.”
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