Top Dem: 'No smoking gun' in latest Benghazi documents

Top Dem: 'No smoking gun' in latest Benghazi documents
© Anne Wernikoff

The top Democrat on the House committee investigating the attack in Benghazi, Libya, says there is “no smoking gun” among the roughly 60 newly disclosed emails between Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLate night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 10 steps toward better presidential debating Continuity is (mostly) on the menu for government contracting in the next administration MORE and confidant Sidney Blumenthal.


“I can say that there is no smoking gun,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, told reporters before heading into Blumenthal’s closed-door deposition.

“I don’t recall anything on the Benghazi attack itself,” he added.

Cummings said the messages cover a “wide range of things” but declined to offer specifics.

He called on committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears Tim Scott invokes Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in Trump convention speech Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington MORE (R-S.C.) to release the emails on Wednesday but “only if he releases the transcript of the deposition that’s taking place today.”

Cummings predicted that most of Tuesday’s proceedings would concern the latest cache of documents; therefore, Blumenthal’s comments about them ought to be made public “so that we can put them in context.”

“We cannot allow this investigation to go on based upon leaks,” he said.

In a statement Monday night, Gowdy said he would make the 60 messages public if Cummings consented. If not, the panel would wait five days before doing so.

Cummings told reporters he had yet to be consulted about the path forward.

He criticized the GOP for assuming the nearly 60 messages, handed over by Blumenthal himself, were not already part of existing document requests made of the former secretary of State or the State Department.

“The responsible thing to do” would have been to compare Blumenthal's messages to those requests and then determine if there were any discrepancies between them, according to Cummings.

He noted that Democrats on the panel do not have the power to release the transcript of the Blumenthal proceedings, but Republicans can release the memos without buy-in from the minority.