House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said on Wednesday that the House Select Committee on Benghazi could wrap up that darn, prolonged investigation if only former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would “actually cooperate.”
The House is currently conducting the eighth investigation by various congressional committees and a State Department panel of the events surrounding a terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 that left U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee concluded last November that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the attack and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.
The latest investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed by Boehner last May and headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). The committee signaled this week that the investigation will continue well into 2016, as Clinton seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.
Many Republicans insist that Clinton – who formally launched her second presidential campaign last week – has never fully explained her role in the lead up to the tragedy and the aftermath.
Moreover, the recent disclosures that Clinton used her private email and server to conduct official business at the State Department and that she destroyed thousands of personal messages after leaving office have sparked suspicions that she is trying to hide something.
Democrats, meanwhile, have accused House Republicans of conducting a political crusade to try to turn up new evidence that would besmirch her record and hurt her chances of winning election.
Boehner suggested today that Clinton only has herself to blame for the prolonged investigation.
“They could clean this up a whole lot quicker if the administration and former Secretary Clinton were in a position to actually cooperate with the committee and turn over the type of information that we’ve been seeking for some time,” Boehner told reporters at a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, according to The Hill.
“But the administration has made it virtually impossible to get to the facts surrounding Benghazi,” he added. “When we have the facts, we’ll have the report.”
Gowdy had previously indicated he wanted to finish by the end of this year. But now it appears unlikely his committee could analyze the information and publish its findings and conclusions in a report before early 2016 – just when the presidential campaign will be really heated up.
A Gowdy spokesman told Bloomberg News that factors beyond the committee’s control, including witness availability, compliance with documents requests, the granting of security clearances and accreditations would likely prevent a swift resolution of the probe.
In a separate statement issued by the committee, Gowdy said, “Secretary Clinton’s decision to seek the presidency of the United States does not and will not impact the work of the committee.”
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