Democratic lawmaker questions legitimacy of Benghazi panel

Democratic lawmaker questions legitimacy of Benghazi panel
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House select committee investigating the Benghazi attacks said the panel has “given up any pretense of a legitimate investigation.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) made the remarks in response to reports that the Republican National Committee is fundraising off of the controversy over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRonan Farrow exposes how the media protect the powerful Kamala Harris to Trump Jr.: 'You wouldn't know a joke if one raised you' Comey says he has a 'fantasy' about deleting his Twitter account after end of Trump term MORE’s private email accounts.

“From issuing a completely unnecessary subpoena to Secretary Clinton to Republican fundraising off of the tragedy in Benghazi, it appears that the Select Committee has given up any pretense of a legitimate investigation, and now has just become a surrogate for the Republican National Committee,” Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement.

Democrats also made that charge in a letter sent last week to Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyThe Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions Trump says Gowdy can't join his legal team 'for a couple months' Trump grants posthumous pardon to Manhattan Project contributor MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Benghazi panel.

“This taxpayer-funded committee should focus on an investigation that ensures reforms are implemented to improve the safety and security of our officials serving overseas,” Cummings added.

National Review report on Monday said Gowdy will appear at a March 19 fundraiser in Virginia titled “Beyond Benghazi," featuring a film screening and an interview with the South Carolina lawmaker.

This weekend Gowdy said there are several gaps in the emails the panel has received from the State Department.

“There are gaps of months, and months and months,” he said Sunday on CBS's “Face the Nation.”

Meanwhile, the White House on Monday said President Obama emailed with Clinton while she served in his cabinet, but was unaware of how her personal email address was set up.

“The president did email with Secretary Clinton,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

“The president did, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office exchange emails with his secretary of state,” he added.