Dems press for vote on releasing Blumenthal’s Benghazi deposition

Dems press for vote on releasing Blumenthal’s Benghazi deposition

Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi are ratcheting up the pressure on the GOP to make public 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 confidant Sidney Blumenthal’s deposition transcript.

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In a Wednesday 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.), the panel’s five Democrats invoked the procedures that were adopted by the House when the committee was established last year to call for a vote on releasing Blumenthal’s roughly nine-hour deposition. 

“The chair and the ranking minority member shall consult regarding the release of depositions,” the Democrats wrote. “If either objects in writing to a proposed release of a deposition or a portion thereof, the matter shall be promptly referred to the Select Committee for resolution.”

“It appears that all of these prerequisites have been fulfilled,” they said.

“Since all of the steps have been fulfilled as required by the deposition procedures adopted by the House, we request that you promptly schedule a business meeting of the Select Committee so Members may consider, debate, and vote on this important matter,” the Democrats added.

The missive is the latest in a series of calls by Democrats and Clinton allies to release Blumenthal’s deposition to show that questions mostly centered on politics instead of the deadly attack that killed four Americans.

In their letter, Democrats charge that Gowdy and his fellow Republicans have already treated Blumenthal differently because he was brought in under subpoena and the select committee has already released his emails to and from Clinton.

“Chairman Gowdy attempted to schedule a meeting so Members could discuss this matter but the Democrats chose to send out a press release instead. They remain uniquely focused on anything other than substantively advancing the Benghazi investigation," committee spokesman Jamal Ware said in a statement.

"If the Democrats put as much effort into getting the State Department to produce even one document as they have into this transcript, then perhaps we could actually get State to move faster on document production. The committee has not released the transcript of any other witness and the Chairman is not inclined to treat this witness differently because of his political connections," he added.

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

At the time, Gowdy said he would call a nonbusiness meeting of the select committee to discuss the Blumenthal deposition.

In a cable news interview that night, the former federal prosecutor said he was “open-minded” to the idea of publishing the transcript, 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.”

--This report was updated at 11:20 a.m.

Read letter from committee Democrats