Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks, told reporters that there is “no smoking gun” amongst the 60 newly disclosed documents showing correspondence between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal.
“I can say that there is no smoking gun,” Cummings said before starting Blumenthal’s closed-door deposition on Tuesday. “I don’t recall anything on the Benghazi attack itself.”
Blumenthal is a former presidential aide to Bill Clinton and a journalist. He was an unofficial adviser to Hillary Clinton, MSNBC reports.
He told reporters on Tuesday that he spent roughly nine hours answering questions during the deposition. The emails between Clinton and Blumenthal were handed over to the committee on Friday.
Cummings called for Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Committee chair, to release the emails on the grounds that he also release “the transcript of the deposition that’s taking place today” so that people could “put them in context.”
“We cannot allow this investigation to go on based upon leaks,” Cummings said, according to The Hill.
Gowdy, meanwhile, said that the committee should have received the emails earlier.
“I will leave it to you to figure out whether there was a failure to produce on the former secretary’s part or a failure to produce on the Department of State’s behalf," he told reporters.
Last month, Blumenthal defended the advice he gave Clinton on Libya, MSNBC reported.
“From time to time, as a private citizen and friend, I provided Secretary Clinton with material on a variety of topics that I thought she might find interesting or helpful. The reports I sent her came from sources I considered reliable,” he wrote in a statement.
Clinton also commented on her correspondence with Blumenthal during an event in Iowa last month.
“When you’re in the public eye, when you’re in an official position, I think you do have to work to make sure you’re not caught in a bubble and you only hear from a certain small group of people,” she said.