Clinton Benghazi hearing set for Dec. 20

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has been set for Dec. 20.

Clinton will appear at the opening hearing to discuss the deadly September attack that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Clinton’s testimony will come after the anticipated release of an independent report reviewing the State Department’s handling of security for its diplomats in Benghazi.

Republican lawmakers have questioned if the Obama administration ignored earlier threats to the U.S. mission in Libya and denied requests from State officials on the ground for heightened security.

Clinton will also likely address the administration response to the attack. 

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice initially blamed the violence on a spontaneous protest sparked by an anti-Islam video. The White House later acknowledged that the attack was a planned terrorist assault.

GOP lawmakers question if the administration downplayed the terrorist angle for political gain ahead of the election.

President Obama, though, has defended Rice and said her statements were based on intelligence reports and were not intended to mislead.

Rice has been seen as a possible replacement for Clinton, but many GOP senators have suggested they would block her nomination over her handling of Benghazi.

Rice headed to Capitol Hill last month for a series of meetings with GOP lawmakers that failed to stem the criticism, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) saying he was “more disturbed” after speaking with the ambassador.