Clinton aides downplayed post-Benghazi statements on link to video
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates's probation request The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list MORE’s aides sought to downplay concerns over whether she ever blamed the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on an anti-Islamic Internet video, according to new emails released Friday by the State Department.
 
“You never said spontaneous or characterized the motives,” Clinton foreign policy aide Jake Sherman said in an email to the secretary of State on Sept. 24, almost two weeks after the attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The subject line reads: “Benghazi/protest statements.”
 
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“In fact you were careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method. The way you treated the video in the Libya context was to say that some sought to 'justify' the attack on that basis.”
 
Clinton's initial comments came just one day after the attacks as the administration scrambled to connect the dots and learn what happened. President Obama referred to the attacks as “acts of terror” that same day.
 
But U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice received significant criticism from Republicans for characterizing the attacks as a spontaneous reaction “sparked by this hateful video” on Sunday shows a few days later.  
 
That sparked questions about how the administration developed talking points for Rice and lawmakers to describe the attack, which was later found to be a coordinated terrorist attack. 
 
Clinton also sent an email to aide Cheryl Mills asking her about an NPR report from October 2012 that said the CIA station chief in Tripoli had sent a cable to say that there was no demonstration.
 
The State Department released those exchanges as part of a Friday afternoon dump of almost 300 emails from Clinton’s private email server. 
 
The emails had already been turned over to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is planning to cull any additional emails for information to help its investigation into the attacks.