Clinton says diplomat wanted Benghazi presence - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Clinton says diplomat wanted Benghazi presence

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The latest from the House Benghazi committee's hearing featuring testimony from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (all times local):

8:15 p.m.
    
More than 10 hours after a hearing on the Benghazi attacks began, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is expressing hope that statesmanship will overcome partisanship as lawmakers investigate the 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
    
"I came here because I said I would," Clinton told the special House committee investigating Benghazi. "I tried to answer your questions. I cannot do any more than that."
    
Clinton said her answers "have changed not at all since I appeared two years ago before the House and Senate" as other committees investigated the attacks.
    
She called it "deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi should ever be used for partisan political purposes. I am hoping we can move forward together."
    
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7:15 p.m.
    
Hours into a day-night hearing on Benghazi, Hillary Rodham Clinton found it funny when a Republican lawmaker asked if she was home alone during the night of the attacks.
    
Clinton said she left the State Department and went to her Washington home, where she has a secure phone. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama asked whether Clinton was alone that night.
    
The former secretary of state laughed, though Roby said she didn't find it funny. Clinton said it was a bit of levity at 7:15 p.m., more than nine hours since the hearing began.
    
She described conversations with other officials and said, "I did not sleep all night."
    
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5:45 p.m.
    
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff says the GOP-led committee doesn't want to release the closed-door testimony of Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton confidant who sent her memos about Libya while she was secretary of state, because Republicans don't want the American public to know what they asked him.
    
The California congressman doesn't have the authority to release it himself, so instead he offered his version of "Sidney Blumenthal by the numbers."
    
He says Republicans asked Blumenthal 160 questions about his relationship and communications with Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, but fewer than 20 questions about the Benghazi attack.
    
He says they asked Blumenthal more than 50 questions about the Clinton Foundation, but only four questions about security in Benghazi.
    
Republicans asked Blumenthal about 270 questions about Blumenthal's alleged business activities in Libya, but no questions about Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador who was among four Americans killed in the attack
    
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5:30 p.m.
    
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says emphatically that she never told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to order the military to "stand down" during the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
    
Addressing one of the persistent claims by her critics, Clinton said "of course" she did not issue a stand-down order and said U.S. officials did everything they could to protect the U.S. compound. The military began moving Marines and special forces toward Libya, but the surviving American personnel were evacuated before they could arrive.
    
"Logistics and distance made it unlikely they could be anywhere near Benghazi in any reasonable time," Clinton said.
    
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland noted that the stand-down claim has been repeatedly debunked, including in a report last year by the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee.
    
Clinton thanked Cummings for bringing up the "very comprehensive report that House Armed Services did on this."
    
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3:10 p.m..
    
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says former US Ambassador Chris Stevens pushed for a permanent U.S. presence in Benghazi, Libya.
    
Stevens was based hundreds of miles away in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Clinton says he thought it was important to maintain a presence in eastern Libya, where there had been an uprising against former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The CIA also wanted a site in Benghazi.
    
"He was a very strong advocate for staying in Libya, including Benghazi," Clinton said of Stevens.
    
Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
    
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2:20 p.m.
    
Tempers are flaring at the House Benghazi committee hearing.
    
The chairman - Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina - was questioning Hillary Rodham Clinton about emails she received while secretary of state, from a family friend who once worked for President Bill Clinton.
    
The friend, Sidney Blumenthal, emailed Hillary Clinton frequently about Libya.
    
The line of questioning led the committee's top Democrat - Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland - to accuse Gowdy of unfairly attacking Hillary Clinton and mischaracterizing Blumenthal's emails.
    
Cummings demanded that Gowdy release a committee transcript of a closed-door interview with Blumenthal.
    
Gowdy refused. Then the committee leaders began shouting at each other. A bemused Clinton looked on.
    
The shouting went on for several minutes. Then the hearing abruptly adjourned for lunch, after more than three hours of testimony.
    
And Gowdy says he's not done with questions about Blumenthal.
    
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1:40 p.m.
    
The White House says it hopes the House Benghazi committee's hearing will bring finality to the issue.
    
White House spokesman Eric Schultz says President Barack Obama didn't have specific plans to watch the hearing. But the spokesman says Hillary Rodham Clinton's testimony is a reminder of why Obama chose her to be secretary of state.
    
Schultz says Clinton is committed to the safety and security of Americans serving in diplomatic posts, and he says she's someone who takes responsibility when something goes wrong.
    
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1:15 p.m.
    
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is accusing Hillary Rodham Clinton of not telling the American people that terrorists were responsible for attacking the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
    
The Ohio lawmaker suggests Clinton was motivated to portray Libya as a success story for the Obama administration - and the attacks came only 56 days before voters were to decide whether to re-elect President Barack Obama.
    
Jordan is citing Clinton's public statement after the 2012 incident - the statement said some people believed the attack came in response to an anti-Muslim video that prompted a protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
    
Jordan has produced copies of emails Clinton wrote her family, saying it was a terrorist attack by an al-Qaida-like group.
    
Jordan notes she also told Egypt's prime minister that she knew the Benghazi attack had nothing to do with the film - that it was a planned terrorist strike.
    
Clinton disagrees with Jordan's portrayal of what happened and is defending her actions. She says there was much conflicting intelligence in the fast-moving aftermath.
    
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12:45 p.m.
    
A Republican member of the House Benghazi committee wants to know why Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't fire anybody over the 2012 attacks that killed four Americans.
    
Clinton was secretary of state at the time.
    
Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas notes that no one lost a single paycheck over the attacks - and it was the first time an U.S. ambassador had been killed since 1979.
    
Clinton says an independent review board did single out several State Department employees for what the board felt was inadequately carrying out their duties - but the board didn't find any breach or dereliction of duty.
    
Four senior State Department officials were put on paid leave after the board said security at the Benghazi mission on the night of the attacks was "grossly inadequate."
    
After a review, the department reassigned three officials to positions of lesser responsibility, and one official resigned.
    
Pompeo says his constituents don't think that amounts to "accountability."
    
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12:40 p.m.
    
The seats in the House hearing room are all taken, and dozens of photographers are on hand as Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies about the deadly attacks against Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.
    
But the cameras didn't show the former secretary of state raising her right hand and swearing to tell the truth.
    
A spokesman for the House Benghazi committee says the chairman - Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina - offered to conduct a private swearing-in - before the hearing began - out of respect for Clinton.
    
Spokesman Jamal Ware says the hearing is "not about politics" but about the four Americans who died in the attacks.
    
12:15 p.m.
    
Hillary Rodham Clinton says it's clear the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, wasn't provided with all the requested security.
    
The former secretary of state says neither Ambassador Chris Stevens - who died in the 2012 attacks - nor the diplomatic mission got everything that was asked for.
    
Clinton tells a House committee that was the finding of earlier congressional investigations and an independent review board conducting its own investigation of the attacks.
    
But Clinton also says even critics of the level of security in Benghazi have said the type of attack that took place would have been difficult to repel.
    
Still, Republican Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama says the review board found that security was "grossly inadequate"
    
Clinton says the board uncovered deficiencies within the State Department - and the Obama administration has tried to make fixes.
    
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11:30 a.m.
    
Rep. Susan Brooks is using a collection of emails as a way to suggest that the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lost interest in Libya in the months before to deadly attacks in Benghazi in September 2012.
    
At a House committee hearing on Benghazi, the Indiana Republican is brandishing two piles of printed emails that she says show messages related to Benghazi and Libya.
    
Brooks says he pile from 2011 has 795 emails, and the pile from 2012 has 67 emails.
    
Here's what Brooks is telling Clinton: "I can only conclude by your own records a lack of interest in Libya in 2012."
    
Clinton denies there was any diminished interest in Libya. She says most of her work wasn't done by email, but in personal meetings and briefings, secure telephone calls, diplomatic cables and other types of communication.
    
Clinton says she didn't even have a computer on her desk.
    
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11:10 a.m.
    
Hillary Rodham Clinton is pleading with the Republican-led House Benghazi committee to put - in her words - "national security ahead of politics and ideology."
    
The former secretary of state says that after deadly attacks against Americans abroad during the Reagan, Bush and Bill Clinton administrations, leaders from both parties in Congress and the executive branch came together to figure out what went wrong and how to respond.
    
Clinton says that what's happened after the Sept. 11 attacks, after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and after attacks against Americans in Lebanon when Ronald Reagan was president.
    
She's telling committee members that "Congress has to be our partner as it has been after previous tragedies."
    
The committee is examining the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed.
    
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10:50 a.m.
    
The top Democrat on the House Benghazi committee is offering a vigorous defense of Hillary Rodham Clinton and unleashing a scathing critique of the Republican-led panel.
    
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland cites comments by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy - the California Republican who credited the committee with driving down Clinton's presidential poll numbers.
    
Clinton is the front-runner for her party's nomination in 2016.
    
Cummings is mocking the committee chairman, GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, for saying it was hard to conduct the inquiry in such a partisan atmosphere.
    
Cummings wants to know why Gowdy was telling fellow Republicans to "shut up when they are telling the truth" - and not when they made what Cummings calls "baseless claims" against Clinton.
    
Cummings says it's time to end the "fishing expedition" by the committee against Clinton.
    
___
    
10:40 a.m.
    
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is telling a House committee there were "no delays in decision-making" immediately after the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.
    
Clinton is the star witness in the GOP-led investigation.
    
She's also says that in the U.S. response, there were "no denials of support from Washington" or from the U.S. military.
    
She's calling for transparency in the investigation - which critics say is focused on hampering Clinton's run for the White House in 2016. She's the Democratic front-runner.
    
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, died in the attacks.
    
The committee chairman - GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina - accuses Clinton and the Obama administration of withholding information, including Clinton's emails, about what happened in Washington following the attacks.
    
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10:15 a.m.
    
The chairman of the House committee investigating the deadly attacks on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 is telling former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the investigation is not about her.
    
That is the message in Rep. Trey Gowdy's opening statement at a public hearing where Clinton - the Democratic front-runner for president in 2016 - is testifying.
    
The South Carolina Republican says the investigation is focusing on the four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the attacks.
    
Gowdy say the committee is looking for the truth about the diplomatic compound's request for more security, equipment and personnel - and what was being discussed in Washington while the Americans were under attack.
    
After months of buildup, Clinton is taking center stage as the star witness in the Republican-led investigation.
    
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9:50 a.m.
    
Hundreds of people are gathering outside the Longworth House Office Building before the highly anticipated public hearing where Hillary Rodham Clinton is to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
    
News photographers are packing the well of a hearing room normally used by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. It's the largest hearing room on the House side of the Capitol.
    
Clinton - the Democratic front-runner for president in 2016 - is the sole witness at the hearing.
    
It's the fourth hearing since the committee was formed in May 2014.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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