Benghazi report out within next month, chairman promises

Benghazi report out within next month, chairman promises

The House Select Committee on Benghazi will release its report on the 2012 attack that killed four Americans in Libya within the next month and ahead of the twin nominating conventions this summer, Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyOur sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower GOP takes aim at Comey, Brennan House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report MORE (R-S.C.) promised on Friday.

“It’ll be in the next month,” Gowdy said during an interview with MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily.”

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“It will be before the conventions,” he added.

The deadline, which he and other Benghazi committee Republicans have previously suggested was the goal, will likely bring to a close years of official scrutiny about the Sept. 11, 2012, violence.

Conservatives have vocally criticized the Obama administration over its handling of the attack and the narrative presented to the American people afterwards.  

Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony Democrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony Trump: 'So sad' Democrats are putting Hope Hicks 'through hell' MORE, in particular, has been tarred by critics over her role during the night of violence. The scrutiny flared up most visibly last October, when the Democratic presidential candidate answered questions for 11 hours in a marathon Benghazi committee hearing.    

Democrats have repeatedly claimed that the more than two years that the investigation has been running is evidence that it is politically motivated.

But Gowdy and his fellow Republicans have blamed the Obama administration for the delay, claiming that multiple federal agencies have slow-walked their response to committee requests or outright ignored their demands.

Gowdy had previously said that he would have liked to finish the probe last summer.  

“But I can’t stop an investigation because an executive branch agency won’t give me documents,” he said on Friday. “And we’re still owed documents.”

“I don’t control access to the documents or the witnesses,” Gowdy added. “And in all candor, I have not heard a single person at the State Department of the Department of Defense or the CIA say, ‘Why are you dragging your feet?’” 

The Pentagon, however, has criticized some aspects of the committee’s work, and what its top congressional liaison has called “multiple and changing requests” for interviews and information.

That outburst from the Defense Department, which was notable for its bluntness,sparked a fresh battle on the hotly partisan Benghazi panel. Gowdy accused the department of coordinating with Democrats to publicly scold the work of its congressional overseers, and pointed to an apparent inaccuracy the Pentagon made in its criticism.

Democrats, who originally wavered on whether to even join the committee, have also repeatedly criticized its work. Ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and other Democratic lawmakers have long insisted that the panel is chasing conspiracy theories and exploring ground that has been previously investigated by multiple congressional committees. 

During the course of the 2012 attack, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed at the hands of extremist militants at a diplomatic facility and nearby CIA annex. The episode was recently dramatized in the Hollywood blockbuster “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” 

On Friday, Gowdy indicated that he and other lawmakers would continue to publish material about the attack that they receive, even after the report is finalized.

“If witnesses come forward after the publication of our report, we’ll let the reader know that,” he said.

The South Carolina Republican also promised that his report would divulge new details about the events leading up the violence, the night itself and the Obama administration’s story afterwards.

“I’m not only going to lay out a report,” Gowdy said. “I’m going to lay out the transcripts. I’m going to give you the exhibits…. I don’t want you to take my word for it.”

Updated at 6:20 p.m.