Hillary Clinton to Testify Before House Benghazi Committee
by Carrie Dann (NBC News)
WASHINGTON D.C. - After months of anticipation and partisan feuding, Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi Thursday in a grueling day-long hearing with high stakes for both the Democratic presidential candidate and the GOP.
The former secretary of state is expected to take questions for at least eight to ten hours from members of the GOP-led committee, who will quiz her about the State Department's security decisions leading up to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. The assault left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Aides to Clinton say that she will use her opening statement to argue that, if the United States cannot shrink from diplomatic leadership even in the most dangerous parts of the world. To do otherwise would signal that the wrong lessons have been learned from the tragedy in Benghazi, she will say.
Critics argue that the Benghazi panel, which was created in 2014, amounts to a Republican political exercise intended to harm Clinton's presidential ambitions.
Its chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, has been forced to defend the committee's credibility after Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy publicly linked the investigation to Clinton's dip in 2016 polling.
Clinton will enter the hearing in a position of strength, just one day after potential rival Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will not seek the Democratic nomination.
But the Benghazi issue remains a political challenge for Clinton, who also faces questions about her use of a personal email server during her tenure at the State Department.
An NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll this week found that just 27 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with Clinton's response to the attacks, while 44 percent say they are not satisfied.
Still, the public also remains unconvinced that the Benghazi panel is an apolitical endeavor. Just 29 percent said that the committee is fair and impartial, while 36 percent said that it is unfair and too partisan.