Clinton to testify on Benghazi at one session only
Washington — Hillary Rodham Clinton is willing to testify on Capitol Hill later this month about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and about her email practices during her tenure as secretary of state, her attorney told lawmakers in a letter Monday.
But lawyer David Kendall said the Democratic presidential candidate would testify only for one session the week of May 18 or later, not twice as requested by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the special panel investigating the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans at the U.S. outpost in Libya.
Gowdy had requested one hearing to focus on Clinton's use of private emails, and a separate session on Benghazi.
Kendall said that Clinton would answer all lawmakers' questions during one session and it would not be necessary for her to appear twice.
"Respectfully, there is no basis, logic or precedent for such an unusual request," Kendall wrote. "The secretary is fully prepared to stay for the duration of the committee's questions on the day she appears."
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the panel, released Kendall's letter along with a statement saying the lawyer's offer should more than satisfy the GOP's demands.
"Chairman Gowdy should take 'yes' for an answer and finally schedule the hearing," Cummings wrote. "Dragging out this process further into the presidential election season sacrifices any chance that the American people will see it as serious or legitimate."
Spokesman Jamal Ware said Gowdy will issue a statement later "regarding the path forward" for Clinton's testimony.
Ware said the committee "has consistently shown it is interested in getting the facts and doing so in a deliberate and diligent manner."
As a result of the panel's efforts, "the American people now know about Secretary Clinton's unusual email arrangement with herself, something that would not be known had the committee rushed to call the former secretary in November as committee Democrats pushed," Ware said.
Clinton previously testified on Capitol Hill over the attacks in January 2013, when she was still secretary of state. Republicans say they have more questions, especially in light of recent revelations that she used a private email account while secretary of state and decided which emails to retain and turn over to the government.