Cummings: 'Clinton can fend for herself'

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Thursday said Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThe Hill's 12:30 Report Jay-Z to hold pro-Clinton concert in Cleveland Former FCC chairman speaks out against AT&T, Time Warner merger MORE “can fend for herself” in further investigations over Benghazi. 

On MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Cummings was asked whether any representatives for the former secretary of State communicated with House Democrats about participating in the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

“No, no. Let me be clear. I believe that Secretary Clinton can fend for herself,” said Cummings, who was named ranking member of the panel a day earlier.

The congressman said he’s concerned Republicans will not act fairly, citing the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Cummings is the top Democrat on that panel.  

Cummings said its chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), would bring in witnesses to speak about Benghazi, but Democrats did not have access to those witnesses.

“If there’s not a search for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, there’s a problem. So it’s better to be in the room,” he said, explaining the reason for the Democrats’ decision to participate. 

Cummings said he would meet with the Benghazi panel’s appointed chairman, Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyLawmakers press Lynch for briefing on Yahoo secret email scanning reports Clinton IT aide pleads Fifth, skips hearing House Oversight subpoenas FBI for Clinton investigation documents MORE (R-S.C.), “very shortly” to discuss the committee’s direction. 

“We’re going to be going over what the aim of the committee is and what questions they’re trying to answer,” he said.

Despite his willingness to get involved, Cummings said he’s “still trying to figure out what the purpose” of the committee is after at least seven government investigations into the terror attack.

On Wednesday, former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) questioned Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D-Ill.) loyalties. The Iraq war veteran and double amputee was appointed to the select committee on Wednesday.

Asked for a reaction, Cummings said, “It doesn’t even deserve a response. He should be ashamed of himself. If I see him, I’ll tell him that."