The Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Friday defended the pace of his panel's year-old investigation into the 2012 terror attack and announced plans to interview three top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in a 15-page "Interim Progress Update " released on the one-year-anniversary of the committee's creation, blamed the Obama administration for delays in the panel's probe.
"It is difficult to conduct a fact-centric congressional investigation when the Administration impedes the Committee’s progress by repeatedly failing to answer the Committee’s requests or to provide information in a timely manner," wrote the South Carolina Republican.
"The largest impediment to being able to write the final, definitive accounting of what happened before, during and after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi is the Executive Branch itself."
But Gowdy, who also has asked Clinton to appear before his panel, credits his committee with uncovering thousands of new emails and documents related to the administration's handling of the attack that left four Americans dead.
Gowdy also said the panel wants to interview at least 60 more current and former officials, including Clinton, Susan Rice, Patrick Kennedy and three of Clinton's top aides during her tenure as secretary of State: Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin.
Clinton has indicated she is willing to appear before the panel, but only once. Gowdy and the committee have requested two sessions, and Gowdy has also insisted she turn over to a third party the personal email server she used to store emails while at State.
Democrats on the GOP-controlled committee again on Friday dismissed the probe as little more than an attempt to smear the former secretary of State amid her presidential campaign.
"At every turn, the Select Committee comes up with a new excuse to further delay its work and then blames its glacial pace on someone else," said ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., in a statement. "Like the investigation itself, this memo is short on substance, short on accomplishments, and short on a plan for how to get this investigation done.”
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