A top Democrat on the House committee on Benghazi said the panel’s leaders are abusing the purpose of the panel. He also called for the committee to be dissolved in an opinion piece published on Sept. 4 in The New York Times.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said in the op-ed he believes the committee has given up any pretense of investigating the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and has become “little more than a partisan tool to influence the presidential race.”
“Whatever their original purpose, the Select Committee’s leaders appear no longer to have any interest in Benghazi," Schiff wrote, "except as the tragic events of that day may be used as a cudgel against the likely Democratic nominee for president (Hillary Clinton).”
Schiff said the committee was setting a “dangerous precedent” by which congressional committees could go after other presidential candidates in the future.
He went on to highlight the cost and time the panel has taken. He says $4 million of taxpayer dollars have been used in the panel’s investigation over 16 months though they have not gained any “additional insight” into the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.
“A committee that cannot tell the American people what it is looking for after 16 months should be shut down," Schiff said. "Otherwise, Benghazi will come to be remembered not for the tragedy that claimed four American lives, but for the terrible abuse of process that now bears its name.”
Schiff’s op-ed was published while the Benghazi committee interviewed two of Hillary Clinton’s top aides. Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan spoke with the committee behind closed doors.
The piece also coincided with the news that a former State Department staffer that helped Clinton set up a private email server at her home in New York took the Fifth by refusing to testify against himself before the committee, reports Talking Points Memo.
Jake Sullivan, a top policy advisor during Clinton’s time as secretary of state, began testifying on Sept. 4 in front of the same committee. He is expected to answer questions regarding the Obama administration’s foreign policy in Libya at the time and why the administration felt it was necessary to have Americans working in a dangerous zone, reports USA Today.