WASHINGTON -- The House Committee on Benghazi said Thursday that testimony from Hillary Clinton would be delayed, placing blame on the State Department for failing to hand over all the records requested six months ago.
Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said that to ensure that Clinton’s appearance before the committee is “thorough and fully productive,” the State Department needs to hand over records on the former secretary of state’s leadership team.
Clinton’s lawyer told the panel earlier this month that she would be willing to testify about the 2012 Benghazi attacks and her use of private email during her tenure at State, but only once. Gowdy had requested she appear before the panel on two separate occasions to discuss each issue.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Gowdy urged him to hand over emails and accused the department of being "an impediment to the progress."
“Simply put, the Committee must have the records of communication requested more than six months ago before [Clinton's] appearance can be scheduled,” Gowdy wrote in the letter.
In an accompanying statement, he said he has “no interest in prolonging the time before she appears,” but wants “access to all the facts.”
“The Committee needs these emails to have some sense of the completeness of Secretary Clinton’s self-selected public record and to formulate substantive questions for her on Benghazi,” Gowdy said.
The State Department turned over some 4,000 pages of documents in April, but Gowdy said material pertaining to Libya and the Benghazi attacks from Clinton’s leadership team have yet to be handed over.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the Benghazi Committee, accused Gowdy of wasting taxpayer money to continue a “fishing expedition for anything they can use against Secretary Clinton in her presidential campaign.”
“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,” Cummings said.