Clinton testifies to Benghazi committee

The  past  few  weeks  have  been  very eventful  for  the  Democratic  Party.  Vice President  Joe  Biden  put  to  rest  rumors  of a  presidential  run,  party  hopefuls  Lincoln Chafee and Paul Webb dropped out of the race, and the Party had their first debate.

The  debate  brought  to  the  forefront Party dark horses Bernie Sanders and Martin  O’Malley,  and  put  frontrunner  Hillary Clinton  in  the  limelight  once  again.  With Clinton’s successful showing in the October 13th debate, people seemed to be once again warming up to the idea of a Clinton ticket. However,  this  past  week’s  Congressional hearing  over  the  Republican  assembled committee on the Benghazi attacks of 2012 attempted  to  once  again  cloud  Clinton’s reputation with more scandal.

The original House committee was pro-posed  last  May  by  the  then  Speaker  of  the House,  John  Boehner,  and  is  now  headed by Representative Trey Gowdy from South Carolina.  The  day-long  hearing  attempted to  debunk  a  generally  calm  and  collected Clinton, and accuse her of ignoring requests for added security from U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, during the 2012 attacks which killed Stevens and 3 other Americans.

Clinton made it a point to remain calm and  diplomatic  amidst  attacks  from  her Republican aggressors. She avoided suspect gaffes, like the one she made 2 years ago in which she stated, “At this point, what difference does it make?” when asked about her knowledge  of  the  attackers’  motives.  She made the point that accusations of her ignoring requests for more security for  Stevens are “very painful” and she noted that she has “lost more sleep then all of you put together” when reflecting on the attacks.

Republican Susan Brooks of Indiana also posed the question of whether or not Clinton had any contact with the ambassador prior to  the  attacks,  to  which  Clinton  answered, “I  don’t  recall.”  Clinton  continued  to  say that the State Department has ambassadors in  very  hostile  places  around  the  world and  they  are  always  on  high  alert.  Brooks responded  by  saying,  “Had  you  talked  to him  in  July,  he  would’ve  told  you  that  he needed  to  keep  the  security  in  Libya  he was receiving, and he was told ‘no’ by your department.”

However,  Clinton  also  received  assistance from allies on the panel. Politicians like Adam Schiff (D-California) and Elijah Cummings  (D-Maryland)  made  points  during the discussion which attacked Republicans for creating this committee in the first place.

“As a country, we are better than that. We are better than using tax payer dollars to try and destroy a campaign,” Cummings said.

Republicans, however, will have a bit of fuel going forward. Revelations that Clinton had  a  conversation  with  Egyptian  Prime Minister  Hesham  Kandil,  in  which  she revealed that the attacks were premeditated and most likely carried out by a known terrorist group, will come back to haunt her in further hearings.

This has been the seventh full investigation of the circumstances of the attack, and the fifth one conducted by the House. These investigations have been largely regarded as having been conducted better than before, but  none  of  them  have  found  substantial wrongdoing in the protocol surrounding the tragedy. Committee chairman Trey Gowdy said  afterwards  that  future  interviews  will be  done  in  private,  because  the  partisan-ship  of  a  public  hearing  does  not  produce enough results.

The  committee,  which  seemed  more political  than  investigative,  proved  to  not hurt Clinton. Most news outlets considered the  hearing  to  be  absurd  and  considered Clinton the victor. Clinton still remains the leader  in  the  Democratic  polls.  However, this  lead  also  continues  to  fuel  conversation  within  the  Republican  Party  over  the legitimacy  of  Clinton’s  campaign.  GOP candidate  and  presidential  hopeful  Carly Fiorina  was  quoted  as  saying  that  Clinton lied about her knowledge of the attacks and this  lie  was  made  known  during  the  hearings. Additionally, Fiorina said that the only strength in Clinton’s campaign comes with the fact that she is attempting to be the first female president.

“I think it’s worth remembering though that Hillary Clinton is running on a platform of  being  the  first  woman  president.  That is  her  platform,”  Fiorina  said.  “If  I  am  our nominee, I will force her to have to run on her track record, or lack thereof.”

The  11  hour  hearing  was  cluttered with  lines  of  questioning  that  ranged from  Clinton’s  private  email  server  to  her friends’  knowledge.  Needless  to  say,  with angry  Republican  representatives  keen  on strengthening  their  chances  to  win  back the presidency and the resulting pushback from loyal Democrats, this conversation is far from over.

-Sean Ryan ’18, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>