Clinton aide testifies before Benghazi committee

2015-10-17 07:46
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Washington - A longtime, close aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, on Friday testified before the US House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, as the panel faced renewed criticism from Republicans and Democrats about the purpose of its inquiry.

Huma Abedin met behind closed doors for what was expected to be several hours focused on the September 11, 2012, attacks on the US facilities that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Clinton herself is scheduled to appear before the panel on Thursday in a widely anticipated public hearing.

The Benghazi panel is under intense scrutiny after two House Republicans described the Republican-led committee as partisan and aimed at hurting Clinton's presidential bid, a characterisation the panel's chair rejects.

The panel's Republican chair, Rep. Trey Gowdy, took the unusual step on Thursday of chiding a fellow Republican, who said the investigation was designed in part "to go after" Clinton. Gowdy said the comments by Rep. Richard Hanna were "unfortunate" and misinformed. Hanna is not a committee member.

Disgruntled employee

A former Republican staffer also has criticised its work as solely focused on Clinton while describing a less-than-professional atmosphere, with an informal wine club nicknamed "Wine Wednesdays," and several Republican staff members spending time forming a gun-buying club.

Gowdy has dismissed those criticisms as coming from a disgruntled employee who was fired.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said late last month that the Benghazi panel could take credit for Clinton's recent drop in public opinion polls. He later retracted the comment.

Abedin is vice chairperson of Clinton's campaign and was a top State Department aide when Clinton served as secretary of state. She also worked in Clinton's Senate office.

Abedin's testimony is expected to focus on events leading up to the September 2012 Benghazi attacks, as well as on the attacks themselves and their aftermath.


Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  libya  |  us  |  benghazi attack

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