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GOP, Dems feud over usefulness of the Benghazi committee


Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi released a report Friday outlining the progress they have made in the year since the committee was formed to investigate the 2012 attack that left four Americans dead, even as Democrats argued that almost nothing has been accomplished.

"I am proud of what a professional team of investigators, committed to uncovering all the facts has been able to accomplish since the Committee was created," said Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). "This committee has interviewed eyewitnesses never before interviewed, obtained tens-of-thousands of pages of documents never before provided, and reviewed new information central to the investigation such as FBI reports specific to the interrogation and prosecution of Abu Khattala."

Cummings Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, are fighting over how useful the committee has been on the one-year anniversary of its creation.

Gowdy said the biggest hurdle to accomplishing more is the lack of cooperation from the Obama administration. Gowdy has already said this problem would likely force the committee to release its final report in 2016, just as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a focal point of the investigation, hopes to be making the case for her presidency.

According to Gowdy, the committee has managed to secure more than 20,000 pages of emails that had not been made public to Congress before, including many from Clinton. The committee has also taken credit for uncovering Clinton's use of personal email while she was in the government.

On Thursday, however, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the committee, charged that almost nothing has been done over the last 12 months.

"After a full year, it now seems obvious that this investigation is being dragged out in order to attack Secretary Clinton and her campaign for president — squandering millions of taxpayer dollars in the process — while Republicans use this tragedy to raise campaign funds," he said. "This is exactly the opposite of what we promised the victims’ families, and I urge the Select Committee to drop this political charade and focus on implementing reforms that will protect our diplomatic corps around the world."

Cummings released an outline that said the committee has held three hearings over the last year that cost about $1 million each. He also said the committee has now taken longer than the investigation into the Kennedy assassination and the attack on Pearl Harbor, and is on pace to take longer than the investigations into Watergate and 9/11.

"Despite its focus on Secretary Clinton, the Select Committee has identified no evidence to support claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, approved an illicit weapons program, or any other wild allegation Republicans have made about her for years," Cummings concluded.

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