05/14/2013 10:00 am ET Updated May 14, 2013

Donald Rumsfeld: Hillary Clinton Is 'Sideshow' In Benghazi Controversy

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Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld weighed in on the Benghazi attacks on Tuesday, charging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with being the "sideshow" in the controversy surrounding the White House's response to the attacks.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" show, Rumsfeld was asked whether he thought Republicans' focus on the attacks is intended to derail Clinton's 2016 presidential prospects.

"No, that's the sideshow, is the Hillary Clinton piece of it," Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary under Presidents George W. Bush and Gerald Ford, responded.

During a Monday press conference, President Barack Obama pushed back on GOP criticism of his administration's handling of the attacks, dismissing recent Benghazi scrutiny by congressional Republicans as politically motivated.

"The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow," Obama said. "There's no there there."

During the "Today" interview, Rumsfeld stood by his October claim that the White House attempted a cover-up by initially downplaying the attack on the American consulate.

"I think as it's unfolding, it's very clear that the people knew from the outset that it was not the YouTube, that it was not a demonstration," he said. "And people on the ground and people in Washington have now testified to that."



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