Welcome to the GOP's Benghazi summer.
After being hammered for months by Democrats for moving at a “glacial” pace, the GOP-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi is picking up the pace.
“We are pedal to the metal because we are ready to get this thing done,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), one of the panel’s seven Republicans.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said the uptick was result of mounting frustration among Republicans over what they view as foot-dragging on the part of the Obama administration to the panel’s various document and information requests related the 2012 attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans, and their aftermath.
“Let’s get going because there’s only so much frustration until finally you got to say, ‘Well, we’re going to do whatever now to try to get that information now,’” he said.
This week the panel subpoenaed Sidney Blumenthal, an informal adviser to Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDem: Pruitt violating anti-campaigning law with GOP fundraiser Michael Flynn’s troubles mount Writer who pushed 'Pizzagate' conspiracy theory says he'll attend WH briefing MORE when she helmed the State Department, and who has since agreed to appear before the select committee by the requested June 3 deadline.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) hinted that Huma Adebin, Clinton’s longtime aide and the vice chairwoman of her 2016 presidential campaign, could be deposed soon, too.
Earlier this month chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyFive questions for the House's new Russia investigator Chaffetz decision stuns Washington Who will replace Chaffetz on Oversight? MORE (R-S.C.) issued an interim report on the panel’s first year of work that said he wants to interview 60 former and current Obama administration officials, including members of Clinton’s inner circle, about the circumstances surrounding the deadly assault that killed four Americans.
“We still have plenty of people to interview, we ain’t run out of that yet,” Westmoreland told The Hill.
House Republican leaders are also mindful of the clock as they debate the possibility of cutting off funding to parts of the State Department to force the administration's cooperation.
While GOP members insist they still need all the relevant documents to the attacks that occurred on Clinton's watch, the recent moves could blunt the criticism that they are slow-rolling the investigation to hinder her White House bid.
“We want to get this thing over with as quick as we can. I’m sure Mrs. Clinton wants to get it over as quick as she can,” according to Westmoreland.
Jordan said members are already in the process of coming up with the “most appropriate and best lines of questioning” for when Clinton appears before the select committee, something she has agreed to do though no formal date has been set.
The acceleration hasn’t been lost on Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the panel’s top Democrat, though he’s unsure where the sudden motivation has come from.
“I don’t have a clue. All I know is that they waited for a good while before even asking for documents and then they turn around and blame the State Department,” he told The Hill.
He took particular issue with the Blumenthal subpoena, a move that he called “heavy-handed” at the time.
The remark brought a sharp rebuke from panel spokesman Jamal Ware.
"Those who complain about the committee's speed don't get to complain when the committee cuts to the chase," he said.
Cummings said the panel’s investigation is “going down a road that leads straightway” for its original purpose — uncovering additional details about the conditions before, during and after the attacks — and is now “basically, get Hillary Clinton by any means necessary.”
The pace could pick up again after the State Department on Friday made public the 296 emails related to conditions on Libya that came from the private email server Clinton used while acting as the nation’s top diplomat.
Clinton's former agency tuned them over to the House panel in February.
In a statement, Gowdy said the panel wouldn’t “reach any investigative conclusions until our work is complete, but these emails continue to reinforce the fact that unresolved questions and issues remain as it relates to Benghazi.”