National Security

Dems release Benghazi transcript on eve of Clinton’s testimony

Going against the wishes of Republicans, Democrats on Wednesday released the full transcript of nine hours of closed-door testimony from a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, a day before Clinton’s appearance in an open hearing on Capitol Hill.

The 307-page transcript from Cheryl Mills’s September testimony contains no evidence that Clinton mishandled the U.S.’s response to the 2012 terror attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, according to Democrats on the select committee investigating the incident. 

{mosads}Instead, Clinton was “very engaged” in responding to the crisis, Mills said, according to the new transcript.

In fact, her decision to go to a “staff-level” meeting about the incident — which would normally be below Clinton’s level as secretary of State — “took some people aback,” she added.

“What she was communicating the night is, ‘I’m here because I want my team safe. … And whatever we need to do to do that I want to do,’” Mills said.

The transcript comes in response to “multiple selective and out-of-context leaks mischaracterizing Ms. Mills’s testimony,” top Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) said in a statement announcing he transcript’s release.  

Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department.

Democrats had threatened to release the transcript last week in a dramatic escalation of the committee’s partisan infighting.

Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) had urged Democrats to “treat the conversation as if it were classified,” but Cummings and his fellow lawmakers have rejected that request.

Mills’s transcript comes just 24 hours ahead of Clinton’s high-profile appearance in an open session of the committee.

Democrats and Clinton have both gone on the offense ahead of that appearance, seeming to believe that the political winds have shifted to give them the leverage. A string of damaging remarks from Republicans have seemed to confirm Democrats’ long-held position that the Select Committee on Benghazi was partly designed to bring down Clinton’s front-runner presidential campaign.  

Tags Hillary Clinton Trey Gowdy

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