Clinton To Testify Before House Benghazi Committee October 22nd

Get ready for another pointless political circus.

Clinton Testifies On Benghazi Attack

Hillary Clinton will be testifying before the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack on October 22nd:

Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify on Oct. 22 before the House select committee investigating her role in connection with the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said Saturday.

The testimony will be public, Merrill said. It follows months of wrangling between the Republican-led committee and Clinton, whose allies accuse the panel of conducting a fishing expedition for damaging material that might be used against her as she runs for president in 2016.

Clinton had long offered to testify in public, but the committee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, had initially said he preferred a private interview. Although he said he was trying to keep the session from becoming a circus, Clinton’s team objected on grounds that a closed session could allow Republicans to selectively leak unflattering details.

Clinton’s lawyer has also accused the committee of trying to drag out its investigation into 2016, the better to use it as a cudgel against the Democratic front-runner.

This won’t be Clinton’s first time testifying before a Congressional committee regarding the Benghazi affair, of course. She testify before both House and Senate Committees that were investigating the matter prior to leaving office as Secretary of State in January 2013. Both of those encounters were quite intense, of course, and led to the now famous confrontation between Clinton and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and  in which Clinton utters the now famous line “What difference, at this point, does it make?” These hearings, coming as they will just months prior to the start of the Presidential campaign season, will likely be just as contentious, if not more so. There are no Presidential candidates on this committee, of course, but it is likely that the campaigns will be watching the hearings with interest and, to the extent they can, suggesting lines of questioning to Republican committee members. It will, no doubt, be interesting television.

In the end I tend to think that the hearings will end up helping Clinton, or at least not causing her any harm. The January 2013 hearings were pretty much a bust in terms of finding anything that actually implicated Clinton in wrongdoing or even wrong decision making with respect to the events of September 11, 2012. Additionally, none of the investigations into the Benghazi affair have found anything approaching wrongdoing or a cover up on the part of the Obama Administration generally or the State Department specifically. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the entire affair concluded that there was no wrongdoing and, basically, that the entire event was an unfortunate tragedy that perhaps only could have been avoided had Ambassador Stevens not traveled to Benghazi at all that day. This time around, of course, it is likely that much of the questioning will concentrate on the issues concerning Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State and any email correspondence she may have had regarding Benghazi while she was Secretary of State. Most of all, though, it is likely that this hearing will be primarily about Clinton herself and the fact that she is the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee. The goal, as it has been for some time now, won’t be about finding out the “truth” Benghazi, which seems like an utterly pointless exercise considering this is the sixth Congressional Committee to investigate the matter, but about scoring political points for 2016. The American people likely to see right through that, and unless there is some kind of smoking gun that implicates Clinton in a cover up or something similar to that, it is unlikely that the hearing will do anything more than serve as red meat leading into the final months before Republican voters start picking their Presidential nominee.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Slugger says:

    I have no idea if there was any malfeasance attributable to Ms. Clinton in the Benghazi affair; I suspect that if there were it would have been yelled from the rooftops during some of the previous investigations. However, if Mr. Gowdy wants a private session and Ms. Clinton wants a public session, I expect that Mr. Gowdy will discover that he has just thrown Br’er Rabbit into the briar patch.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I have no idea if there was any malfeasance attributable to Ms. Clinton in the Benghazi affair;

    When the Republican led House intelligence Committee says she did nothing wrong, that nobody did anything wrong, I tend to believe them. And all that smoke you see? It’s coming from from whatever it is the GOP is smoking these days.

  3. Lit3Bolt says:

    It’s timed for maximum impact on HRC during the Republican debates. There’s a debate on the 28th of October, 6 days after whatever Benghazi “bombshells” will be dropped on the 22nd. The debate will center around foreign policy with the US/Nato intervention in Libya as a springboard. This will give all the Republicans some tough-talking points, such as “I would have nuked Libya given the chance” to which the Republican primary audience will thunderously applaud.

  4. Tony W says:

    @Lit3Bolt: I don’t think the testimony, or the debates, will change anybody’s mind about Hillary Clinton. Trump will bloviate about how rich he is, Rick Perry will forget his own middle name, Cruz will read from Dr. Seuss and the others will just quietly pledge fealty to the base while quietly wondering how they’re going to walk back all this hogwash after they win the nomination.

  5. Bokonon says:

    You say that the American public is likely to see right through this exercise.

    I don’t have your faith.

  6. de stijl says:


    Most voters are already committed (even though they don’t know it or are unwilling to acknowledge it.)

    If this is just a rehash of everything that has already been investigated, D voters are not going to be moved off their vote, Rs are never going to vote for Clinton, and most declared Independents are closet D or R voters in disguise. The amount of actual, persuadable swing voters is vanishingly small.

    Presidential elections today are mostly won or lost on the effectiveness of the respective parties’ GOTV efforts.

    In her appearance makes any noise at all, it will be amongst people who have already decided which party / candidate they are going to vote for. IOW, a meaningless exercise.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Way off-topic, but has anyone read anything on the process behind the sudden Turkish reversal on ISIS?

  8. mike shupp says:

    Early isn’t it? I understand the Benghazi committee has many questions to ask Mrs Clinton, but in deference to her busy schedule, I’d presumed they’d occupy themselves with lesser lights — CIA Associate Directors and the like — before concerning themselves with HRC, likely some time around July of next year. And August. And September. And October. And a week or two of November, just to ensure that every issue got its proper attention.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    No minds will be changed.

    The Right will continue to hate (that’s right, viscerally hate) Hillary, while the Left sees this only as yet another episode in the seemingly permanent investigation of the Clintons.

  10. Thomas Weaver says:

    The Clinton’s want this be public, how much more “free exposure” could you possibly get?
    The GOP relishes the opportunity to raise this incident, once more, in the news arena to remind voters of who was in charge when the ambassador and three others were murdered.
    A fruitless endeavor?
    With Trey Goudy running the show, I would not be surprised if there was a ‘smoking gun’.
    If there is – then standby for a three ring circus worthy of a three day continuous new event…

  11. teve tory says:

    Yeah, thomas, the fact that the first 378 investigations turned up no wrongdoing doesn’t mean much. Surely this one will find the ‘smoking gun’.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Weaver:

    With Trey Goudy running the show, I would not be surprised if there was a ‘smoking gun’.

    Aren’t we all waiting for the Zapruder iPhone audio/video that shows Hillary ordering security to stand down while she reads from the Quran. I’m sure that Trey can have Trump investigate this too.

  13. de stijl says:


    Hey, if Darrell Issa can’t turn up any wrong-doing, obviously there’s no there there.

    (Actually Gowdy is about ten times smarter than Issa, but then again, so is my left pinky toe.)

    If you were on Issa’s or Gohmert’s staff, would you show up at congressional social events? Aren’t you just going to be pointed at and laughed at? Hell, I’d bet that Steve King’s staff members look down on the Issa and Gohmert folks.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @de stijl:

    If you were on Issa’s or Gohmert’s staff, would you show up at congressional social events? Aren’t you just going to be pointed at and laughed at? Hell, I’d bet that Steve King’s staff members look down on the Issa and Gohmert folks.

    Can you imagine Steve King’s staff looking down at anyone else? Steve is Michele Bachman without the paranoid edginess.

  15. de stijl says:


    Steve is Michele Bachman without the paranoid edginess.

    Except when it comes to Hispanic Panic where King is king.

    Why would a congressman from western Iowa be so concerned about illegal immigration? It’s gotta be at least 1500 miles or so from Sioux City to the Mexican border. Why, it’s almost as if there were some underlying racial animus that invigorates his objections.

    (BTW, there are plenty of farmers in western IA who would be pretty miffed if they suddenly had no slave-wage workers come harvest time.)