Applause breaks out after top Dem denounces Benghazi committee

The top Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee delivered an impassioned takedown of the panel's purpose, prompting applause in the hearing room Thursday evening.

The rousing speech from Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTop Democrats demand answers on DHS plans to deploy elite agents to sanctuary cities House to vote next week on bill to create women's history museum The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address MORE (Md.), who at times shouted as he attacked the committee’s integrity, was followed by an emotional plea from former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' The problem with Trump's Middle East peace plan Trump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury MORE —a moment likely to be replayed during the course of her presidential campaign.  

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“It’s easy to sit up here under these lights and Monday morning quarterback about what should’ve been, what could’ve been,” Cummings said, his voice growing progressively louder.

“Do we want to badger you over and over again until you get tired, until you do get the ‘gotcha moment?’ ” he asked Clinton “We’re better than that.”

“We’re better than using taxpayer dollars to try and destroy a campaign. That’s not what America is all about.”

The address, roughly 10 hours into the marathon hearing, was greeted with enthusiasm by the audience that included multiple Democratic members of Congress.

Clinton, in response, offered perhaps her most stirring moment of the long day on Capitol Hill.

“I recognize that there are many currents at work in this committee, but I can only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship," she said.

“At some point we have to do this,” she added. “It is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi could ever be used for partisan, political purpose.

“And I’m hoping that we can move forward together and start working together and start listening to each other.”