In what might be a preview of Hillary Clinton’s testimony next week, Huma Abedin will be interviewed by the House Benghazi Panel tomorrow. However, as CNN points out those wanting to see Congressman Trey Gowdy stare down Abedin and ask question after question are going to be left disappointed.
Her interview is not a formal deposition, according to the committee source, and is expected to be conducted largely by committee staff members because lawmakers are on recess this week.
So it’s not going to be as high-profile as Clinton’s testimony, but it will still be interesting to see what questions Abedin gets asked. I’m sure Gowdy will send a few questions to a committee staff member or two, but it’s doubtful the staffers will ask anything really hard-hitting or “gotcha.” The questions might just be focused on Clinton’s email server and if she ever saw any classified documents sent from Clinton’s email or received them on her own clintonemail.com address. It’s possible this interview is just going to be a prelude to an actual deposition in front of the panel at a later date, which would be interesting if that was the case. If not, then it’s just to provide background information before Clinton’s appearance in a week.
One thing which will definitely be interesting is to see what kind of answers Abedin will actually give. Is she going to try to make this political or give vague answers which only show drips of information? There’s been a major push by Clinton’s allies in the press to claim the Benghazi hearings are purely political and the comments by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy don’t help. What also doesn’t really help are the comments by New York Congressman Richard Hanna to an upstate New York radio station yesterday, saying the Benghazi Panel is partially political.
“…a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton and I think there’s also a lot of it that’s important that we need to get to the bottom of this…After what Kevin McCarthy said, it’s difficult to accept at least a part of it was not. I think that’s the way Washington works. But you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.”
Hanna also mentioned the Watergate hearings didn’t go as long as the Benghazi panel has, but it isn’t clear if he meant the Senate investigation (which lasted a little over a year) or the House impeachment process (which lasted a few months). If it was the former, then Hanna is failing to realize the difference between the House and Senate. The Benghazi panel was formed in an election year, meaning all members had to not only be on the panel but also campaign. The Watergate panel started in 1973 which was a non-election year and gave panel members plenty of time to hold hearings. If Hanna was talking about the latter, then he’s slightly mistaken because that panel started shortly after the Senate panel released its report and dealt with Richard Nixon’s impeachment. Is the Benghazi panel slightly political? Sure, all panels are. But calling it a witch hunt is a bit of a stretch.
That’s not stopping Clinton’s camp from pushing “the Benghazi panel is just political and has no credibility” narrative. At least that’s what campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon said to The Huffington Post.
“House Republicans aren’t even shy anymore about admitting that the Benghazi Committee is a partisan farce. After failing to produce any new information on the tragic 2012 attacks at Benghazi despite a 17-month investigation, John Boehner has reportedly urged the committee to shift its focus to Hillary Clinton’s emails in an ongoing effort to try to hurt her politically. Hillary Clinton will still attend next week’s hearing, but at this point, Trey Gowdy’s inquiry has zero credibility left.”
Fallon is making the same mistake Hanna is by pointing out it’s been going on for 17 months, but he’s going for a soundbite he hopes will register with potential voters. Not everyone is going to remember the House’s recesses or their major votes which require everyone to be there. It’s also ignoring all the other committees which Benghazi panelists belong to. But that’s what Clinton’s camp is going for. Misdirection, accusations, and hope voters are only partially paying attention to what’s going on. To a degree this does make sense because there are leftists who are tired of clintonemail and Benghazi. But the hearings are important because hopefully the actual truth will come out on what the Obama Administration knew about Benghazi and what could’ve been done to prevent it.
So how will this affect Abedin’s interview tomorrow? It’s really inconclusive because there are a lot of unknowns right now. It isn’t known how long Abedin will be interviewed, the topics, or how she’ll frame her answers. But it’s still a rather interesting prelude to Clinton’s testimony next week. That’s when the popcorn should really be ready.