Dem demands release of Blumenthal's Benghazi deposition

Dem demands release of Blumenthal's Benghazi deposition

The top Democrat on the House panel investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, is stepping up his calls for Republicans to release the deposition of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBlumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' MORE friend Sidney Blumenthal.
 
"Now that Mr. Blumenthal's attorneys have completed their review, the American people can read for themselves his responses to hundreds of questions Republicans posed during their day-long session,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Friday in a statement.
 
The demand comes two days after the committee’s five Democrats sent a letter to Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySenate GOP set to ramp up Obama-era probes More than two dozen former prosecutors, judges, active trial lawyers support DOJ decision to dismiss Michael Flynn case Sunday shows preview: As states loosen social distancing restrictions, lawmakers address dwindling state budgets MORE (R-S.C.) urging him to release the transcript as well as the nearly 60 emails Blumenthal himself turned over to the panel on June 12.
 
On Tuesday, Gowdy told reporters he was “open-minded” on the idea of making the proceedings public but noted the committee had not done so for any of its previous interviews.
 
Democrats on the panel released a rough ratio comparing the number of questions that related to the events leading up to and after the deadly siege that left four Americans dead, and Blumenthal’s relationship with the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner.
 
Democrats estimate Republicans asked 270 questions about Blumenthal’s business activities in Libya, 160 about his communications with the former secretary of State, 50 regarding his work for the Clinton Foundation, and 45 on his work for David Brock and other left-leaning organizations like Media Matters.
 
Meanwhile, Democrats say, the record shows the GOP asked less than 30 questions about the U.S. mission in Libya and the Benghazi siege.
 
Reading from a prepared statement after his deposition, which revealed that he did not author nor edit any of the memos he passed on to Clinton, Blumenthal said his testimony “shed no light on the events at Benghazi nor could it because I have no firsthand knowledge of what happened there.”
 
Blumenthal said many of the questions had to do with politics, in some cases dating back as far as the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
 
“I am longtime friend of Hillary Clinton. It seems obvious that my appearance before this committee was for one reason, and one reason only, and that reason is politics,” he said.
 
Cummings said the transcript of the roughly nine-hour interview “reveals exactly how Republicans are spending your taxpayer dollars — investigating Secretary Clinton and her personal relationships rather than the attacks in Benghazi.”
 
“Over the past week, the Select Committee has become a sieve, with anonymous ‘sources’ repeatedly leaking selected excerpts of Mr. Blumenthal's emails out of context. It's time to end this circus. The Committee should immediately release all of Mr. Blumenthal's emails and his full deposition transcript together,” Cummings said.

Blumenthal's attorney, former Deputy Attorney General James Cole, also sent a letter to Gowdy on Friday demanding the transcript be released.
 
"There have been numerous leaks about his emails and testimony, many of which have given an inaccurate account of what occurred in the deposition. It is unfair to my client, to the work of the Committee, and to the public to allow this inaccurate record to persist," he said.

— This story was last updated art 4:10 p.m.