Benghazi Committee Grills Second Hillary Clinton Aide

Another top aide testified today.

ByABC News
September 4, 2015, 6:49 PM
Former Hillary Clinton aide Jake Sullivan arrives to be interviewed before a House panel on the Benghazi investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 4, 2015.
Former Hillary Clinton aide Jake Sullivan arrives to be interviewed before a House panel on the Benghazi investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 4, 2015.
Cliff Owen/AP Photo

— -- A second top aide to Hillary Clinton testified before members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi for nine hours Friday, following news that a former Clinton aide who worked on Clinton's private email server plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment before the committee.

Jake Sullivan, Clinton's former deputy chief of staff and policy adviser at the State Department, answered questions about the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, as well as Clinton's use of private email at the State Department.

Sullivan said he answered all the committee's questions today, but said the session was classified and did not go into details. He did not comment on Clinton's use of a private email server for official State Department business.

"I was very proud to have the opportunity to talk about the extraordinary service of my colleagues to our country, my colleagues at the State Department ... and the incredible work they did on behalf of our national interests every day,” he said after the deposition.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, told reporters that the session was “professional” and “very fact-focused.”

Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said Friday morning that Sullivan, now a foreign policy adviser to Clinton's presidential campaign, was in a "unique position" to discuss U.S. policy and the American footprint in Libya in 2012.

Sullivan's appearance before members of the committee comes a day after Clinton confidante Cheryl Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff at the State Department, spent most of the day answering the committee's questions.

Mills thanked committee leaders Thursday for their professionalism and respect after her interview. Like Sullivan, she did not comment on the ongoing email controversy.

In a Friday op-ed published in the New York Times titled "Disband the Benghazi Committee," committee member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, criticized the investigation's focus on Hillary Clinton's use of private email ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

A spokesperson for Gowdy responded with a statement blasting Schiff for attending one of the committee's 45 interviews.

Gowdy said Mills was not asked any questions about private email use until the end of the nine-and-a-half hour interview.

"Our committee is the committee on Benghazi, not the committee on emails,” he said.

Mills reportedly told the committee Thursday she looked over a review of the Benghazi attacks by the independent Accountability Review Board before it was published in 2013, which the ARB's former chairman confirmed in an interview with the New York Times Friday. Republicans have questioned the integrity of the ARB's Benghazi report.

In a statement, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the committee's ranking Democrat, accused Republicans of selectively leaking details of Mills's testimony, saying that review of the report by the Clinton's office was disclosed two years ago.

The committee's hearings with Clinton's top aides follow news that a former Clinton aide who worked on her email server plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not answer questions from the Benghazi Committee and other congressional inquiries.

Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton 2008 campaign aide and State Department staffer, has decided invoke the Fifth in light of the ongoing FBI investigation into the security of Clinton’s email server, according to a letter from his attorneys to the committee earlier this week. The letter was a response to a subpoena from Gowdy compelling him to testify on Sept. 10 and provide documents related to his work on Clinton's server.

Pagliano also asked Gowdy to excuse him from appearing before the committee next week, though the chairman has not said whether he will still compel the former Clinton aide to do so.

Mark MacDougall, an attorney for Pagliano, declined to comment Friday afternoon.

The committee plans to next interview former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell, Gowdy said Friday. Huma Abedin, Clinton's closest aide, is also expected to testify in the near future.