The chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi accused the State Department of stonewalling its investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack, warning in a letter sent Thursday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be called to testify until the committee receives all the documents it requested. She had been scheduled to testify before the committee next week.
"Secretary Clinton is insistent she will appear once and only once before the Select Committee," wrote Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina. "The Committee must be equally insistent that her appearance is thorough and fully productive."
Clinton was in charge of the State Department during the December 2012 attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Last November, Gowdy sent a letter to Kerry requesting the handover of all Benghazi-related documents from Clinton's senior leadership team. And in March of this year, the committee formalized that request with a subpoena.
Thus far, Gowdy wrote, the committee has received nothing: "In fact, not a single document has been produced by the State Department pursuant to these requests despite the Committee's successive efforts, at the State Department's insistence, to narrow its request."
"Simply put, the Committee must have the records of communication requested more than six months ago before the Secretary's appearance can be scheduled," he explained. "There is still the possibility of scheduling the former Secretary's appearance soon, but that is contingent upon Department of State compliance."
Gowdy even suggested Congress may use the power of the purse to nudge the department to expedite its transmission of documents. "The Committee has shared its concerns with those responsible for appropriating monies to the Department of State in the event reprogramming to ensure compliance with congressional inquiries is warranted," he wrote.
The State Department says the claim that not a single document has been produced is simply not accurate. They've provided 300 emails from Secretary Clinton, 19 witnesses since late February, and over 4,000 pages of documents from an internal investigation, in addition to 40,000 additional pages of documents turned over since last August.
"It's clear the Committee doesn't know how to take 'yes' for an answer," said Alan Gerlach, a State Department spokesman.
Democrats have accused Gowdy of slow-walking the inquiry into Benghazi and delaying Clinton's testimony in a bid to disrupt her 2016 presidential campaign.
"Republicans are on a fishing expedition for anything they can use against Secretary Clinton in her presidential campaign, and every time they come back empty-handed, they extend their trip at taxpayer expense," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the select committee, in a statement. "The Committee has had Secretary Clinton's emails for months. This new claim that the Department has not produced a single responsive document is completely baseless and appears to be yet another excuse to drag out Secretary Clinton's testimony until closer to the election."