House Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Wednesday he won’t be deterred by Democrats on the committee who are trying to undermine the investigation.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s top Democrat, has accused Gowdy of operating a “partisan investigation” over the past eight months by holding secret meetings with witnesses and then withholding or downplaying information from those interviews “that undermines allegations the committee is investigating.”
In Wednesday letter to Gowdy, the committee’s five Democrats objected to his plan to go forward with 22 “unilateral and unnecessary” subpoenas to State Department officials without any committee debate or vote.
But Gowdy said that Democrats have refused multiple times to accept a negotiated rules package over demands for veto power over subpoenas. He added he’s tried to work out a compromise but that Democrats have refused.
“I am unwilling to let the minority party veto subpoenas when it is clear they have prejudged the outcome of the investigation,” Gowdy said. “The minority has repeatedly indicated it is unwilling to issue any subpoenas. If subpoenas are necessary for the committee to talk to relevant witnesses or access relevant documents, they will be issued.”
Gowdy went On the Record with Greta Van Susteren Wednesday night to talk about the dispute with Democrats on the panel, and his intention of interviewing Hillary Clinton as soon as the State Department produces “the documents, cables and emails” he’s requested.
“I have questions on all three tranches,” Gowdy told Greta. “Starting with the designation of our facility in Benghazi which met no security standards whatsoever – so – why was it open?” Gowdy noted that it’s part of a Sec. of State’s job to personally review the security of these facilities.
He also said he would ask about how she answered her “3:00 phonecall.”
“I think it’s fair to ask, ‘Madam Secretary what did you do during the pendency of those attacks.'”
And finally, he would ask about the talking points and why Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows to push a false narrative instead of her.
As for the Rep. Cummings’ complaint that Republicans on the committee have been meeting with witnesses “in secret” Gowdy countered that the Democrats have almost certainly been doing the same – with Hillary Clinton herself, for example.
Gowdy explained that there are some whistleblowers who don’t want to go on the record with what they know – (presumably out of fear of retaliation from the Obama administration.)
“When somebody comes up to you and says, ‘I will only talk to you, I will not give my name, I don’t want to be a witness but I do want you to know what I have…’ my choice is to either say ‘I’m not interested to hear what you have’ or my choice is to violate their confidentiality and their security…”