Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Tuesday he still intended to summon former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify as part of the investigation into the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four Americans.
“Every witness who has relevant information needs to be talked to,” Gowdy told reporters after a committee meeting Tuesday.
If he didn’t call Clinton before the committee, Gowdy said, it would be “an incomplete investigation.”
The House Select Committee on Benghazi is charged with delivering the final word on the attack, which has been the subject of an intense political battle.
Several previous Congressional investigations into the attack have found no wrongdoing by U.S. officials, but that has done little to cool the partisan acrimony surrounding the incident on whether the State Department under Clinton’s direction did enough to prevent the attack.
Clinton, who is believed to be moving closer to announcing her bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has said she would testify. But Democrats believe she should have been already been called and worry that a delay could interfere with her presidential campaign.
Her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2013 has become a soundtrack for Republican opposition to her candidacy. Her supporters fear another round of testimony would only inflame the partisan debate over the Benghazi attack.
Gowdy told reporters Tuesday that he has been unable to get documents from the State Department pertaining to the attack, which has delayed his call for Clinton to testify. He said the government has been dragging its feet in release emails and other documents.
“I am willing to do it sooner rather than later,” said Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican. “What I am not willing to do is do it in a vacuum where I don’t have access to the documents.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, downplayed the criticism over the release of documents. He said Clinton has been willing to testify.
“If the committee wants her to come she is willing to come,” Cummings, D-Md., told reporters. “So if the excuse is that the State Department documents haven’t gotten there, it makes no sense.”