Afternoon at the Benghazi Hearing II

My timing was a bit off for ending the last post. Subsequently came questioning (?) by Rep. Peter Roskam in which he basically asserted that SoS Clinton tried to use her support of military intervention in Libya for political gain. It was the most obvious example of the day (so far) of a total veering off of the topic of the Benghazi attacks and a pure attempt to discredit a presidential candidate. Afterwards Clinton calmly pointed that out.

The committee then took a break for several House votes.

Rep. Martha Roby spent her 10 minutes basically asking Clinton why she didn’t go against the advice of her colleagues and shut the Benghazi compound down prior to the attack.

Rep. Elijah Cummings made it clear that SoS Clinton issued no stand-down order for the military to go into Benghazi.

Rep. Mike Pompeo brought up the FAST Team – a interagency group that goes into American facilities after a natural disaster or attack to re-build and investigate. Pomeo wanted to know why they hadn’t been sent to Benghazi. Clinton pointed out that there was no plan to re-build the compound there and that the FBI went in as soon as possible to investigate.

Rep Adam Schiff had perhaps the most informative moment of the afternoon so far. He pointed out that after a bit of a shouting match between Gowdy and Cummings before lunch about Sidney Blumenthal’s testimony to the Committee, they had voted along Party lines to not release the transcript.

Schiff suggested that Republicans on the committee didn’t want the American people to see the transcript – not because of what Blumenthal said, but because of the questions they asked. Here’s how he broke it down:

Republicans asked him 50 questions about the Clinton foundation, but only four about security in Benghazi; there were 270 questions about his business interests in Libya; and 40 questions about Media Matters/Clinton ally David Brock but none about Ambassador Stevens and other U.S. personnel in Libya.

Rep. Jim Jordan has been the most obnoxious questioner. The topic he is still obsessed about is a claim that Clinton publicly blamed the attacks on the anti-Muslim video that was causing protests all over the Middle East at the time of the attack in Benghazi. He articulated his theory that Clinton knew the attack wasn’t about the video but publicly made that claim in order to protect the Obama administration in the upcoming election (nope – no politics to that claim at all). But the big issue with Jordan is how he badgers instead of questioning – not giving Clinton any room to respond.

And with that – they took another break. Be back later with what I assume will be the conclusion of this event.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.