House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy talks with the media before hearing testimony from Jake Sullivan, former Hillary Clinton aide during her tenure as Secretary of State, on Capitol Hill, Sep. 4, 2015. 
Photo by Cliff Owen/AP

Trey Gowdy defends Benghazi hearings


Rep. Trey Gowdy is ready to talk about his main takeaway from Secretary Hillary Clinton’s marathon testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee.

Directly following Thursday’s hearing, Gowdy, the committee chairman, needed more time when asked what new information he learned from her.

“I’d have to go back and look at the transcript,” the South Carolina Republican said.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, Gowdy was armed with an answer.

“When she’s asked whether she takes responsibility, she says, ‘Yes.’ But when you ask, ‘Responsibility for what?’ I can’t tell you what she’s taking responsibility for.”

When pressed about criticism, even from fellow Republicans, about disproportionately focusing his line of questioning on emails from Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal, Gowdy responded, “How do you not ask: how does this person, who has no formal role in government and no expertise in Libya or Benghazi — how does he have unfettered access to you? But the ambassador — there is not a single email to or from him.”

Also appearing on the show was the Benghazi Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who was asked why the Democrats’ strategy in the hearing seemed to be to act as “shield” for Clinton.

He replied,”We found ourselves having to - not defend Secretary Clinton - but to make sure that the record was complete.”

On why Democrats are choosing to remain on the Benghazi committee, Cummings continued, “Somebody has to be in the room to defend the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Cummings’ performance in Thursday’s hearing has many wondering whether he will make a bid for Maryland’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2016.

He was coy, however, about his future plans.

“I’m going to meet with my family and we’re going to make that decision,” Cummings said. “When I’m not even in the race … and I’m leading by 13 points, it does give me an idea of how I would do.”

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Benghazi and Trey Gowdy

Trey Gowdy defends Benghazi hearings