Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the House Benghazi Committee remain at loggerheads over the conditions under which she would testify before the committee, probing the killing of four Americans in the September 2012 attack in Libya.
Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill announced Saturday that Clinton had agreed to testify before the committee in a public hearing in October, but the committee’s communications director, Jamal Ware, said no agreement had in fact been reached.
“Earlier this week we were pleased for Secretary Clinton to receive an offer from Congressman Gowdy to appear before the committee in a public hearing in October, and yesterday accepted his invitation,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.
“Secretary Clinton’s campaign may want to reach out to her lawyer, Mr. David Kendall, with whom the Committee has had ongoing conversations,” Ware said. “As of last night, Mr. Kendall was still negotiating conditions for her appearance.”
According to Ware, Kendall had two conditions for Clinton testify: that the questions be limited in scope to the Benghazi committee’s jurisdiction, and that the date remain firm despite the State Department’s alleged slow production of documents to the committee.
In recent months the committee has expanded its purview into investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server rather than a government email account. On Friday, a pair of inspectors general announced that they had found messages containing classified information among the 30,000 emails Clinton has turned over from the server, contrary to Clinton’s assertion in March. The inspector general for the intelligence community also notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the possible compromise of classified information being kept outside of government control, in reference to Clinton’s private server.
Ware said the committee believes that the email issue is well within its purview.
“Her email arrangement clearly falls within the scope of the Select Committee’s jurisdiction, which is charged by the House under the Resolution to look at Executive Branch efforts to comply with congressional oversight as well as the administration’s response in the aftermath of the tragic attacks in Benghazi,” he said.
A public hearing would mark a small victory for Clinton, who has pushed to testify in public, despite committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy’s hopes for her to testify in a classified setting.