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State Dept to release 5,000 pages to Benghazi panel

State Dept to release 5,000 pages to Benghazi panel
© Anne Wernikoff

The State Department has agreed to release 5,000 pages of documents to the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Tuesday, the panel’s chairman said late on Monday evening.

The new document dump comes after a standoff between the State Department and the House panel, which had previously ordered a top aide to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on Wednesday.

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After the department committed to releasing the 5,000 new pages to the committee, the hearing with that aide — Kerry's chief of staff, Jon Finer — will be postponed until after Kerry has completed a marathon string of briefings and hearings to sell the international nuclear deal with Iran. 

“This was never about a hearing, but about getting the documents,” Benghazi committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyFox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy The Hunter Biden problem won't go away MORE (R-S.C.) said in a statement on Monday evening. “The committee is not interested in drama, we want the facts.”

“If the State Department does not fulfill this production, or if production continues to be anemic and underwhelming, we will move forward with scheduling a compliance hearing before the committee," he added.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack, had accused Gowdy of trying to foil the Obama administration’s sales job on Iran by forcing Finer to appear before his panel shortly after Kerry appears in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the nuclear deal.

Gowdy has repeatedly accused the State Department of dragging its feet on handing over documents related to the attack, which left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

The Tuesday handover of documents will be the second largest the committee has received, and the largest since last summer.