Clinton ally presses Benghazi panel over Blumenthal deposition

Clinton ally presses Benghazi panel over Blumenthal deposition

A close ally of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose Trump's evangelical approval dips, but remains high How Obama can win back millions of Trump voters for Biden MORE wants to know why the House Select Committee on Benghazi asked Sidney Blumenthal about his work on behalf of liberal organizations.

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In an open letter posted Monday afternoon, Media Matters founder David Brock demanded to know why panel members asked an estimated 45 questions about Blumenthal’s role with liberal organizations, including Media Matters, and Brock-founded super-PACs, American Bridge and Correct The Record, during a nine-hour deposition last week.

“So how did the House Select Committee on Benghazi suddenly morph into the House Select Committee on Media Matters?” Brock asked.

“At this point, it's obvious that the committee's intended target is potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” he later added. “If all the Republicans have left to nail her with is Media Matters and Blumenthal, this is an investigation that may as well shut down. There isn't even a whiff of scandal here.”

Brock also called on committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyMore 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 John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America MORE (R-S.C.) to release the transcript of last week’s deposition with Blumenthal, a former Clinton adviser, echoing calls by panel Democrats and Blumenthal’s attorney.

On Monday, the Republican-controlled panel released nearly 60 emails Blumenthal sent Clinton, now a presidential contender, while she served as secretary of State.

Brock said the GOP is “sitting on the deposition” to “save themselves from political embarrassment.”

A panel spokesman later fired back at Brock's criticism.

“The witness was paid by an outside partisan, political group at the same time he was feeding Secretary of State Clinton intelligence reports from a for-profit private intelligence operation that may have had a financial interest in the outcome of the Libya intervention,” the spokesman said in an email. “This leads to a number of legitimate and appropriate questions as part of understanding whether his role was not only one of informing but also influencing Secretary Clinton’s decision making as it may have affected relevant events in Libya.”

Appearing on Fox News’s “On The Record” on Monday, Gowdy repeated his opposition to making the transcript public.

“I have not released a transcript of any previous witnesses, and I have no plans to release the transcript for any future witnesses, so it is incumbent upon Democratic colleagues why we should treat this witness specially or differently. I'm not inclined to release the transcript,” he said.

Gowdy said that he is “open-minded,” but “the burden of proof is pretty high when you have never done it in the past, and you are not going to do it in the future. You have got to convince me why Sidney Blumenthal is special and different. That's a steep mountain to climb.”

The committee is expected to meet sometime this week to debate releasing the transcript of the deposition.

BuzzFeed first reported details of Brock’s letter.

— This report was updated at 11:48 a.m.