Benghazi Dems: 'No evidence' to support GOP attacks on Clinton

Benghazi Dems: 'No evidence' to support GOP attacks on Clinton
© Getty Images

Republicans have “no evidence” to support claims that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' Hillary Clinton praises former administration officials who testified before House as 'gutsy women' Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart MORE was in any way responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, three years ago, according to Democrats who are going on the offense ahead of her testimony this week.

Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Monday released a new 124-page report summarizing more than four-dozen interviews that the panel has conducted so far and taking aim at GOP criticism of Clinton’s role during the 2012 violence.

Nothing in those interviews substantiates GOP criticism of Clinton, the Democrats claimed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Republican attacks “are based on no evidence or evidence that is unsubstantiated or distorted,” panel Democrats said in their report.

“[T]hey use extreme rhetoric that has no basis in fact, and they often make a direct link to Secretary Clinton’s bid for president.”

The Democrats targeted a slew of Republicans who have gone on the attack against Clinton, not just their GOP counterparts on the Benghazi panel.

For instance, the report calls out former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina, a 2016 presidential contender, who claimed in July that Clinton has “blood on her hands.”

“I now think we now have enough information to understand that Hillary Clinton as secretary of State has engaged in gross dereliction of duty,” Fiorina said on Fox News at the time. “She has engaged in a cover-up, and she has blood on her hands.”

The report also aims to refute former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), presidential candidate Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCheney unveils Turkey sanctions legislation CNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump isolated amid Syria furor | Pompeo, Pence to visit Turkey in push for ceasefire | Turkish troops advance in Syria | Graham throws support behind Trump's sanctions MORE (R-Ky.) and other prominent Republicans.

Monday’s counter-attack from Democrats comes as part of a vigorous push from Clinton’s defenders ahead of her Thursday morning appearance before the Benghazi panel. Democrats appear to believe they have the momentum heading into the closely watched hearing, following remarks from top Republicans claiming that the panel is in part motivated by politics.

So far, the Benghazi panel has conducted 54 transcribed interviews and depositions. Thirty-one of those have been with people who did not speak with previous congressional probes into the 2012 attack or with an accountability review board set up to investigate the incident, Democrats said.

According to committee Democrats, those interviews describe Clinton as being “deeply engaged during and after the attacks” and claim that she “took action to ensure the safety and security of U.S. personnel, even as intelligence assessments of the attacks changed more than once during this period.”

Republicans, meanwhile, have insisted that the interviews raised new questions about the Obama administration's actions during the Benghazi attacks and its responses afterwards.

In a statement, Benghazi Committee spokesman Jamal Ware noted that most of the Democrats’ report was focused on Clinton, not the four Americans killed in 2012 or the state of American diplomatic security.

“This is further proof of the Democrats’ obsession with covering for Hillary Clinton instead of investigating the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” he said.

“For the majority members of this committee, they will continue to wait until after hearing from all witnesses, up to and including the very last one, before drawing conclusions, because that is what serious investigations do,” Ware added. “As Chairman Gowdy said this weekend, the past 18 months of the investigation conducted by the majority Members has not been about Clinton, it has been about the four brave Americans we lost in Benghazi.”

--This report was updated at 12:18 p.m.