Benghazi hearing set for September

Anne Wernikoff

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Tuesday laughed off the idea that the House select committee investigating the events surrounding the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attack would finish its work before the midterm elections. 

"No. Heavens no," said Gowdy, who is chairman of the committee, in an interview with ABC News. "I have decided that I would rather be right than first. So we are going to do it methodically, professionally."

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Gowdy said the committee would hold its first public hearing in September, after members return from the August recess. 

It will touch on the State Department's Accountability Review Board recommendations, and how well they have been implemented in the wake of the attack that killed three Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. 

Gowdy said there will be other public hearings, but the committee would do most of its work in private. 

"I can get more information in a five-hour deposition than I can [in] five minutes of listening to a colleague asking questions in a committee hearing," he said. 

He added: "My view of public hearings — if there is a factual discrepancy, then the jury or our fellow citizens need to hear both sides, and they can determine where the greater weight or credibility is. But if there is a consensus on a point, there really is not any reason to litigate that in public."

Democrats considered boycotting the process after the committee was created in May. They perceived it to be politically motivated to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and motivate their GOP base ahead of the elections.

However, the issue has fallen largely outside public view lately, as the committee works behind closed doors. 

In June, a poll found only about two in 10 people were closely watching the committee. 

"You want to get on the news, go rob a bank," Gowdy said.