Three hours into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi Thursday, things got heated.
Clinton remained calm and collected throughout the morning portion of the hearing, but shortly before the lunch break, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) confronted Committee Chairman Trent Gowdy (R-SC), alleging he lied this past weekend on national TV when he said that he has “zero interest” in investigating Clinton’s emails or activities of the Clinton Foundation. According to Cummings, Gowdy subpoenaed Clinton adviser Sydney Blumenthal and then both directly asked and directed his staff to ask about the Clinton Foundation and other non-Benghazi related topics during the private deposition.
“You’ve made several inaccurate statements over the past months as you’ve tried to defend against multiple Republican admissions that the select committee has been wasting millions of tax dollars to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president,” Cummings said, growing angry during his exchange with Gowdy.
“Mr. Chairman you personally attended Mr. Blumenthal’s deposition,” Cummings later continued. “You personally asked him about the Clinton Foundation. And you personally directed your staff to ask questions about Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, which they did more than 50 times. Now, these facts directly contradict the statements you made on national television.”
Cummings requested that Gowdy release the full transcript of the Blumenthal deposition, to approving nods from Clinton. “We’re not going to take that up at a hearing,” Gowdy responded.
Cummings again insisted the Committee members have a right to vote on the motion to release the transcript, but Gowdy refused to hold a vote Thursday.
Watch the exchange:
Democrats on the committee have pushed for the transcript of the Blumenthal deposition to be released to contextualize Clinton’s emails. In a letter from June, the five Democrats on the panel cited Gowdy’s own comments from March when he warned about selectively releasing information. Gowdy was speaking about Clinton’s Benghazi-related emails, which were eventually released by the State Department in May.
“Given your own words on this topic warning against the selective release of information from the Committee’s investigation, it has become impossible to understand your revolving policy on when the Select Committee will release information and when it will not,” the Democrats’ letter said.