Hillary Clinton to testify in Benghazi attacks probe

Published: Thursday 22nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Hillary Clinton will take centre stage as the star witness in the Republican-led investigation into the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Mrs Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president, testifies from a position of political strength as her potential rival for the nomination, vice president Joe Biden, announced on Wednesday he would not enter the presidential race.

Meanwhile, the Benghazi committee is on the defensive as the panel’s Republican chairman scrambles to deflect comments by fellow Republicans that the inquiry is aimed at hurting Mrs Clinton’s presidential bid.

Mrs Clinton faces a formidable challenge, as she tries to explain security lapses at the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, the slow military response to the violence and the Obama administration’s changing narrative about who was responsible for the attacks that killed four Americans, including US ambassador Chris Stevens, and why the attacks were launched.

Mrs Clinton is also certain to face questions about her use of a private email account and server while serving as secretary of state in a high-stakes, day-long appearance that could solidify her hold on the Democratic nomination or raise doubts about her candidacy.

The committee also faces a make or break moment. The panel’s chairman, Trey Gowdy, and other Republican investigators know their questioning of Mrs Clinton could revive the beleaguered panel’s credibility or see it sink further.

A new Associated Press-Gfk poll offers solace to both sides. While the investigation into the attacks is not a burning issue for the public – except among Republicans – Americans are more likely to view the investigation as justified rather than as a political attack on Mrs Clinton, it finds.

Many Americans don’t have an opinion about Mrs Clinton’s handling of the investigation. Four in 10 say they neither approve nor disapprove of how she has answered questions about the attack, while 20% approve and 37% disapprove.

Americans also are divided on Mrs Clinton’s emails. More than half of those polled view her use of a private server as a minor problem or no problem at all, compared with one in three who think it is a major problem. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans call it a major problem.

Mrs Clinton has said the use of a private server was a mistake.

The hearing comes amid an escalating partisan feud on the 12-member committee, which has spent more than 4.5 million US dollars since its creation in May 2014.

Democrats have complained about “selective and out of context leaks”. They say the panel has devolved into partisan harassment intended to hurt Mrs Clinton’s bid for president.

Mr Gowdy and other Republicans say the panel has been and remains focused on those killed in Benghazi and on providing a definitive account of the attacks. There have been seven previous investigations.

Published: Thursday 22nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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