Democrats: Hillary Clinton willing to testify before Benghazi panel – Lauren French – POLITICO

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

But Chairman Trey Gowdy says the committee first needs additional documents from the State Department.

By LAUREN FRENCH 1/27/15 7:21 PM EST

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify before the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi — setting up what could be an explosive hearing for the likely 2016 presidential candidate.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the panel, told reporters Tuesday that Clinton had informed him she was willing to testify as early as December 2014 before the panel. Cummings said he reached out to Clinton during the early days of the panel’s investigation in September at the request for committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

“She immediately said she would do that and she wanted to come in December and then she said, ‘Well, if you can’t have me in December I’ll come in January.’ She said … ‘I’ll do it, period,’” Cummings said.

A spokeswoman for Gowdy said he was “not aware of any formal notice that she would [testify], just … Cummings’ statement at the press stakeout after the hearing.”

Gowdy has long expressed an interest in hearing from Clinton, who ran the State Department when the 2012 attacks at the Benghazi compound occurred.

The Democratic aide said Clinton “agreed to testify as early as this past December” but has not been officially called to testify.

Any appearance from Clinton is sure to set off controversy. Conservatives have long pointed to the Benghazi attacks to argue that Clinton is not up to the job as commander-in-chief, and any remarks she made during the hearing would be sure to be used against her during a presidential run. Democrats have dismissed the Republican interest in Clinton as partisan politics meant to distract their party’s likely 2016 nominee.

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