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Boehner presses Obama to order release of State Department emails on Benghazi

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday pressed President Obama to order the State Department to release more interagency emails related to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

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The Speaker’s demand follows a daylong hearing before a House committee on Wednesday and escalates a confrontation between the administration and congressional Republicans over the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Boehner said Republicans wanted the release of emails that indicate senior State Department officials knew the incident was a terror attack before the administration sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to sit for television interviews in which she did not label the killings as terrorism.

“I call on the president to order the State Department to release those emails so that the American people can see them,” Boehner said Thursday at the outset of his weekly press conference. 

“Last November, the president said, and I’ll quote, ‘I’d be happy to cooperate with the Congress in any way that Congress wants.' Well, this is his chance to show his cooperation so that we can get to the truth of what happened in Benghazi.”

Boehner is coming under pressure from rank-and-file Republicans in the House and Senate to appoint a “joint select committee” to investigate the Benghazi attacks. He continued to resist that effort on Thursday, saying he had “confidence” in the committees of jurisdiction that were holding inquiries.

“The goal here is to get to the truth,” Boehner said. “Four Americans lost their lives. Their families want to know the truth. The American people want to know the truth, and I believe it is Congress’s obligation to get to the truth.”

He also declined to say whether the House should subpoena former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, deferring again to the committee chairmen leading the congressional probe.

Boehner accused the White House of stonewalling the investigation.

“The reason this is still underway is that the White House has done everything possible to block access to the information that would outline the truth. And the question that you have to ask is why?” he said.