Hillary Clinton’s long Benghazi political nightmare will continue. Indefinitely.
The former secretary of state had hoped to get her testimony before a congressional panel investigating the terror attack over and done with by the end of next week, but now, that’s not going to happen.
Clinton’s lawyer offered to have the Democratic presidential candidate testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi the week of May 18, but Republican leaders have resisted.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, has long demanded assurances that Clinton turned over all Benghazi-related emails from the private email server she used as Secretary of State. He wanted Clinton to make her server available to an independent third party, but Clinton refused. Gowdy also wanted Clinton to testify twice, but she agreed to only one appearance. Negotiations continued until earlier this month, when it seemed a compromise might have been struck: one hearing, scheduled for next week.Gowdy was not satisfied. On Thursday afternoon, he sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry admonishing him for not being more helpful on the email issue. “Secretary Clinton is insistent she will appear once and only once before the Select Committee,” Gowdy wrote. “The Committee must be equally insistent that her appearance is thorough and fully productive. This requires the record to be complete so the Members can effectively base their questions on documents and the Secretary can base her answers on those same documents.”
The final line of the letter suggested Clinton’s testimony be a ways off: “There is still the possibility of scheduling the former Secretary’s appearance soon, but that is contingent upon Department of State compliance,” Gowdy wrote.
The State Department has said they have complied with Gowdy’s requests, making it unclear how the parties can proceed.
Democrats are crying foul. “This new claim that the Department has not produced a single responsive document is completely baseless and appears to be yet another excuse to drag out Secretary Clinton’s testimony until closer to the election,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Benghazi committee.
It was clear earlier Thursday that Clinton would not be testifying next week, as her campaign scheduled visits to Iowa and New Hampshire during that time.