Top Benghazi Dem: 'I’m not here to defend Hillary’
© Getty Images

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse to vote next week on bill to create women's history museum The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address Baltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings MORE (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee, says he isn't trying to protect Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe 'Palmetto Promise': South Carolina will decide the race Alabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Worries grow as moderates split Democratic vote MORE during her testimony before the panel Thursday.

“I am not here to defend Hillary Clinton, I am here to defend the truth,” said Cummings on Thursday. “All we want to do is put the whole truth out there."

Cummings in his opening remarks accused the committee's investigation of being politically motivated and intended to damage Clinton's 2016 presidential bid.


“I have no problem with every single transcript of every single interview being made public as long as redactions are made.

“It’s a painful conclusion to come to,” he said. “This has been a long drumbeat to destroy the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

“I wish I could accept the fact that conclusions weren’t already made before we started,” Cummings added. “Every time I see things getting done that are against an appropriate, bipartisan investigation, it’s like a chipping away."

Cummings called for all of the panel's interviews to be made public.

“I have no problem with every single transcript of every single interview being made public as long as redactions are made.”

A fellow Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), echoed Cummings’s concerns at the hearing.

“This is about trying to score points, trying to get that sound-bite on the news that undermines her campaign,” he said.

Clinton appeared before the House panel Thursday to testify on her response to the September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, and her use of a private email server while secretary of State.

Republicans have seized on her use of private email, saying it may have endangered national security and prevent a full accounting of what happened in Benghazi.

Democrats, though, say the investigation is a partisan witch-hunt aimed at harming the Democratic presidential front-runner.

Clinton said she felt responsibility for the loss of four Americans in the attack.

“I’m lost more sleep than all of you together,” she told the panel.