State Dept. assures Congress Clinton will testify next week
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Updated: 1:42p.m. ET
The State Department assured Congress today that Hillary Clinton will indeed be ready to testify next Thursday on the recent violence in Benghazi, after suggesting yesterday that the report on which her testimony will be based might not be ready in time.
"The committees have announced the secretary will be on the Hill next Thursday, and so that's the plan," said Patrick Ventrell, the State Department's Acting Deputy Spokesperson, in a briefing today. "We've been cooperating with Congress extensively and will continue to do so."
Yesterday, after releases from both the House and Senate announced Clinton's planned testimony, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland suggested to reporters that the timing of her commitment was not set in stone, because the department's Accountability Review Board (ARB) had not yet finished the report surrounding the Libya attacks.
Nuland said Clinton remained committed to "consult with Congress" once the report was complete, but left the door open for Clinton to push the date back.
"She has made clear that when the work is ready, she will go consult with Congress on it. And that's a commitment she's made, and she intends to keep it," said Nuland. But regarding announcements by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Clinton would testify before them next Thursday, she said: "The Hill has talked about a planning date on the calendar. That presumes that the ARB is finished. I don't have any dates - any schedule of the Secretary's to announce here. It's dependent upon events between now and then."
Asked if the date had been set by Congress without consultation with the secretary, Nuland replied that the committees "obviously planned a date on the calendar" but reiterated "that is dependent on all of the work getting done between now and then."
She declined to say whether or not Clitnon's office had been consulted, but Steve Sutton, a spokesman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tells CBSNews.com the date was announced "only after State confirmed the time and date for Clinton's appearance with us." Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the committee had "obviously not" scheduled the testimony without consulting with Clinton's office. Seth said Clinton's office had agreed to the date.
Today, Ventrell clarified that "the report will be done by early next week."
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