>> you would have to, i would think, appreciate the kind of detailed telling of the story of that night that was afforded to the families by hillary clinton for a portion of the testimony. >> i think if you're a family member, what you want to hear you want to know what happened. it's not necessarily thor blame, it's a kind of heal. the more you know about every moment.
>> and if you're a family member, you don't want another family member to go through it, so let's get it right. >> you don't want any other family member go through it. you want to know the lessons learned to go into the future. >> when the family members got this horrible news, it was so painful to them, it was the context how it was presented, 66 days before a presidential election. mitt romney and barack obama were neck and neck. a key theme, we have defeated al-qaeda, there are no more terrorist attacks. for a family member to find out i just lost somebody at the benghazi consulate, i'm hearing from the administration that this was become of a film that got a lot of people in the region riled up, but now hearing no, the secretary of state and others in the administration knew at the time it wasn't the
film, it was al-qaeda. you heard reference to this with republicans about you want to release all of the transcripts, let's release them to people who were there, who have very, very strong passionate feelings about how the administration that night and a couple of nights that and for the next couple of days explained what happened and their very angry in thinking that the administration was misleading perhaps for political purposes, perhaps the fog of war, but these families didn't feel they got a straight answer. >> are they getting a straighter answer today. >> in some sense, yeah, we saw the email put up in which hillary clinton told her families that we know this was not a film, this was al-qaeda. i'm surprised that members didn't explore that and say what led you to that belief. what was the mindset when you sent that email and hillary might have said this is because
of information we got initially that suggested this and maybe i corrected it the next day, but to me that seems like one of these cans of worms that have been opened but they haven't dug into it. >> just remember, it was september 11. to think it wasn't some kind of organization on september 11, was some kind of lead. >> we are talking about a number of issues here, libby, what i want to know from you, is what is your sense of what the republicans are trying to create as a narrative here? we know that part of this is political, and then the other part is really about what happened that night, but the republicans, it seemed to me are trying to create a narrative and the democrats may be, as well, but what the republican narrative for this year? jorums seem to have a couple of goals, tony, as we heard the
committee press, the republican members of the committee press the secretary about how she planned to put out the news, they tried to show somebody who was savvy, a political player at the same time that the tragedy was unfolding, that her eye on not her ambassador, but her future, perhaps the presidential run, how she would ultimately look, another clinton doctrine, carving out her own legacy. they are trying to bring up something that you were just talking about, that republicans have long been concerned about, why was there confusion or lack of clarity in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the compound about what had happened this video, was for inciting protest. the secretary saying as she had before, look, this was a confusing moment, happening fast, but they want to portray that as a political motivation,
that the obama administration could live with as the republicans say, a protest about a video but couldn't live with a terrorist attack on their record. a lot of politics here and the republicans saying that is the narrative and that is what we believe happened. democrats are just going back again and again to the fact they believe it is essentially a witchhunt and something going off the hillary clinton because of who she is and who she aspires to be in the future. we're hearing relief from the secretary, a toned down and muted message of we take on these jobs with great risks, ambassador stevens and the other three killed were brave, they were doing their job and this is certainly a tragedy that we need to learn from. you've got those three different dynamics that have not changed. we entered the hearing expecting it, it's what we heard from all these three parties throughout. in some ways, secretary clinton
can rely on the democrats to be more of the political fire brands here, keeping her a little clean from some of those testy exchanges. >> you saw that exchange just before the break and i made note of it. she didn't have to put gloves on that. she wasn't touched at all. that was a dispute, a pretty raucous one that was taken up by democrats on her account. i want to play it for you, just before the hearing broke for lunch. the committee chair mapp and ranking member from maryland had a heated debate over releasing the testimony that you just referred to in emails between secretary clinton and sidney blumenthal. >> we just heard email after email after email about libya and benghazi that sidney blumenthal sent to the secretary of state. i don't care if he sent it by morse code, carrier pigeon,
smoke signals, the fact that he happened to send it by email is irrelevant. what is relevant is that he was sending information to the secretary of state. that is what's relevant. with respect to the subpoena, if he'd bothered to answer the telephone calls of our committee, he wouldn't have needed a subpoena. you need to make sure the boyer record is correct. >> that's exactly what i want to do. >> then go ahead. >> i'm about to tell you. i move that we put into the record the entire transcript of as i had they've blumenthal. if we're going to release the emails, do the transcript, that way the world can see it. >> is that a motion? >> the motion i guess seconded. they have informed us that we have a right to recorded vote on that motion. >> you want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that's what we have. put it for the world to see it. >> there was a debate and the
battle was being fought by the ranking member elijah comings there then what happened? they take the break. >> they take a vote and along the party line will not enter the blumenthal transcript into the record. the democrats were saying if you want to see this and get it in the open, here is the opportunity. republicans shut it down. this is a chance for the democrats to push and try to turn what was really a big focus on sidney blumenthal through the character on the outskirts of this drama, republicans bringing him into the mix because there were so many emails exchanged between him and the secretary saying hey, you had this guy had your ear all the time, why weren't there as many emails between ambassador stevens and yourself, why didn't he have a direct line to you. couldn't he call you? couldn't he get in touch with
you? the idea that the ambassador would have their private email address wouldn't be something they would expect, but this was a republican push. they see this as a way to gain ground. ranking member comings was calling him out on it saying you want to enter that information into the record, let's do it, make it public. >> just for greater context, what came before, what came after. libby, stand by. democrats on the committee offered their theories on why the republicans were focusing on sidney blumenthal's emails to secretary clinton. >> they seem to be arguing that sidney blumenthal had access, ambassador stevens did not. do you think that is accurate? >> of course not, congresswoman. you didn't need my email address to get my attention. in fact most of the work i did, as i said this morning had nothing to do with my emails. it had to do with the kind of
meetings and materials that were provided to me through those who were responsible for making decisions on a whal a whole ranf issues. if ambassador stevens had grave concerns that he wanted to raise with me, he certainly knew how today that. >> david shuster, sidney blumenthal, we've got the picture, right? there it is! >> lets tee it up again, who is he, why is his name coming up? i think when we do the transcript on this, his name is coming up, maybe a thousand times. why is his name coming up to much? >> he's a very good friend of the clintons, a journalists in the late 1980's, early 1990's, joined the clinton white house as a speech writer, about him a senior advisor. he controversially suggested to the clintons in the midst of
monica lewinsky scandal that they out to engage in forcefully pummeling their enemies. people define him as a political operative. since the george w. bush administration and president obama, he has remained close with the clintons, been a consultant for the clinton foundation. he had business interests in libya. >> do we know what he wanted to do there? i'm trying to find something on that. >> it's complicated, but trying to set up a deal for a colleague of his who was trying to set up a business in libya. he felt that the clinton state department could assist him opening some doors. >> hey, i know the clintons, i know the secretary, that kind of
thing, which happens in washington all the time. >> some look at him as somebody trying to cash in, make money off his relationship with the clintons and oh by the way as republicans put out in that last exchange, he's highly political, suggesting to the secretary of state, take credit, do a victory lap, go on camera, take credit for the fall of gaddafi. republicans are trying to make the point, hillary clinton was giving more access, spending more time talking about libya with a political operative who is extremely controversial, spending more time listening to him than spending time listening to the u.s. ambassador to libya who was increasingly facing danger and under fire. >> are they back in session? not yet? ok. >> no surprise that there's a political side to all of these offices, right? there are political operatives who are looking at the story from a different lens, right?
there are the people who are clearly working the tactical, operational and all the people in the offices looking at the political. >> i guarantee there are people out there claiming to be friends or are friends with congressman peter rosscom who may be getting the government to do something helpful to them. hillary clinton is an extremely controversial figure on the right for republicans, likely to be the democratic nominee and the republicans are trying to reinforce the perception that the clintons are more interested in helping to enrich their friends and satisfactory their friends needs than interested in running the government. that's the republican theme. you can agree or disagree, but every time the republicans can reinforce that, again, it's like a dog whistle to the right for
people who say the clintons are all about politics, not so interested in policies, because if they were, maybe they might have somehow added more security to libya when ambassador stevens. >> are republicans in their desire to do everything that you're talking about here to leave that impression in people's minds, are they going too far, overreaching in this hearing? >> dependency on your view of politics. it's messy, angry, loud, misleading, sometimes puts people off, but that's the nature. >> you can pay a price for overreaching. >> you can pay a price. as we've seen before, when republicans are partially questioned hillary clinton before and i think of rick lazio when she ran for senate and he approached her on the stage. >> right, right. >> he went from being even with clinton to losing that race by 15 points. there's a danger if you're trying to get in somebody's face and being snarky as you might describe some of the republicans
>> one is the way in which it deals with spending caps and the way it deals with this legislative fix for increased spending in the pentagon. there are sense there are back doors to caps, but there's a -- there's a deeper reason for this. inside the bill, there is the ban on transfer from anyone in guantanamo to the united states. this of course is -- has been a problem for obama since the beginning. >> it was one of his campaign promises, his attempt to close guantanamo. >> it stands in the way of closing guantanamo, stands in the way of any kind of military commission that might be held here. there is so much going on in this and it has been a thorn in the president's side and attorney general's side since the president took office, actually and since this happened
in 2011. >> back to the drawing board, right? >> unless enough democrats join republican to say override the veto. >> which when it comes to guantanamo, is, right? >> that could be a close vote. they may be short in the is not but in the house get enough democratic that is they agree that guantanamo should not be closed, the president should not have the ability to close it down or move prisoners to the mainland of the united states, the senate, but that may not be a guaranteed vote for president obama. >> i want to get to something david mentioned in the break. we've been watching this hearing, started at 10:00 a.m. david, you said something i thought was good and needed to be repeated. whatever you think of this
process and i'm pretty clear about how i feel about it, no one watching needs to know about that and they don't care, whatever you think of this process, you know, the american people are getting an opportunity to see the government work. >> they're learning something about how the state department works, how our embassies and ambassadors work, how they communicate with the state department, how they deal with security, they're learning something about policy. we've heard hillary clinton talk about the balance between putting forward a policy but balancing your security concerns. these are discussions that happen in our federal government at every level every day. it's not black and white. they are not simple, easy decisions. i think as much as people may be put off by the kindergarten tactics of the questions and the snark and insults, we're sometime getting a lot and people watching this are learning a lot about just how intricate and just how many layers of decisions have to be made in our government to achieve a policy that may be
sent out on our behalf. >> ok, let's get to libby casey. we're looking now at the hearing hall and trying to figure out, i think i read something that suggests there could be five, six, seven, eight rounds, maybe even more of questioning? how long could this go on? >> you could take odds on this in vegas of how long this hearing will last. we were predicting it might be eight hours. we're in hour six at this point, not counting these breaks. we have to see how much longer they are willing to go on and when the questions runs out of steam. they said if the secretary wanted to take a break, she could, but there have been natural built-in breaks, a house vote, a learning break previously. the secretary have been able to shake the hands of some democrats who came to support her in this hearing.
as we broke for this last incideninterlooked, she looked . it expect another couple hours. could it go longer? your guess is as good as mine on that. >> david, you've been following politics for a long time and you've been covering the clintons, bill and hilly for a long time, as well, the bushes, everyone. how is she doing? libby mentioned that she seemed really confident, shaking hands, a big smile across her face. you've seen her testify before, you've seen her as senator contributing to hearings like this. what are your thoughts? >> there are two ways to view it. the first is in the moment, hillary clinton did seem to be presidential, she's not being ruffled, she seems to be taking the high road and leaving
squabbling to members of congress so media can say she is the adult in the room. that may be the most important image she can project. the long view, the longer a session like this goes on, the more that is on the record, the more questions, no matter how small, there's the greater opportunity, the greater chance that she may say something that is wrong. you have an entire political party, a political apparatus which is set up so that next summer if hillary clinton is the democratic nominee, they can put on commercials on television, put it on the air to reinforce their idea that she is not trustworthy. again, the danger that hillary clinton has, that anybody would have in this situation is that as the day goes on, make a mistake, you say something that may be patently false or turn out to be not true, and they be a few days or weeks from now, all of a sudden, the clintons start having to do damage control and worry about how
might this be used against her when it really matters, when she's the democratic nominee. >> she has been in this game company long, everything that you just mentioned, she's aware of, right? she'd be aware of everything you just said. >> and she is, and it's still. >> it could still happen. >> it could still happen. the thing that is hurt her the most in the past year, her emails. she has had a series of rolling disclosures of things she has said that have not been true. it hisles people who have known the clintons for a long time. what is it that causes them or causes secretary clinton to parse words or be misleading in some of her statements about the emails where if they would put it all out, unvarnished, completely transparent drop the beginning, they might pay a price, but you still wouldn't be talking about the emails and questions hillary clinton's honesty and integrity eight months later.
>> cash renne, i want to go back to the outset when you walked into the door today and i want to know from you, what were your expectations? what did you hope to get out of this hearing? what did you happy to learn, and have you gotten answers to some of the questions that you had when you walked in the door today? >> what i hoped for was to see a hearing in which politics played a minimal role and substance played a dominating role. >> uh-huh. >> in the beginning, that's exactly what we saw. yes, there was some partisanship in the opening comments, recent strained, disciplined. over the course of the day, what we've seen is more and more of a descent into political name calling, et cetera. there's no greater symbol of this than sidney blumenthal, the name when it comes up is just a code word for let's play politics instead of getting to the substance. have we learned things like david said about how the state department works, how there's a
lot of gray area and black and white, is this good for the american people? maybe. one other thing that is very clear is the nastiness here, the unpleasantness of this. you used the word snarky. it's a very good word. why that is. >> why is that? >> i would not want to be part of -- to say that i helped create something like this. >> before i get to the why is that, i want to understand better the substance of what you hoped would be a part, more a part of the discussion today. >> the part of the discussion could have been what did we know about terrorism and al-qaeda when this event happened on september 11, the anniversary of september 11. what did we know about the terrorists on the ground? what were we hearing that we discounted. what were the disconnects that happened that justifiably could have happened. >> what is the real intelligence. >> correct. >> what is the intelligence we
had confidence in. should we have connected the dots, right? >> or was it impossible. >> or was it impossible. >> hillary said i don't wants to anything is unpredictable because i want to think when people lose their lives, we could prevent it. that's true. i think in these kind of situations, you hope and plan for the best, but these kinds of tragedies happen, and they happen all the time. as she said, there have been 100 attacks since 9/11, terrorist attacks around the world. we need to understand as americans that we are constantly in the middle east and elsewhere in risk taking situations. that's what it means to be abroad and it's not ok when you lose a life, but it can't be that it's unacceptable, 0% tolerance for the risk factor that comes with defending american embassies, defending american troops and our policy in the middle east.
do you have a different recollection? >> they had this classified review board that they've already talked about, accountability review board. what also happened was that the defendants were tried in a trial in 2001 and in that trial, the amount of information that came out about al-qaeda, about bin laden was extraordinary. it was all of a sudden the education of the american people about this threat that was out there, that had declared war against the united states and so that's how we learn the details of it. we don't have a coupler part. it came out in a different way and it wasn't about causing blame. it wasn't about saying you're responsible for the fact that these 224 people died. the terrorists are responsible,
not the secretary of state. >> yeah. all right. libby casey, i had a question for you, but i totally forget it. but i think you -- >> toby, i have something to contribute. you can talk about snark, tone, but republicans would bristle at that and say in fact some republicans would say that the panel members here aren't being tough enough. >> wow. >> a lot of people have big concerns about the clintons want to see her feet held to the fire. these members of congress, the republicans have a tightrope to walk. they need to be kind to her in the sense of treating her with respect. they need to show that they are mature and yet -- >> libby, what does that mean? feet to the fire? >> on the other hand, they have con at this time wents back home in congressional districts, more even sow than what senators say, who want blood. they really want to see what they believe was some sort of
conspiracy unveiled. they want to see the tough questions. they want to see hillary clinton is put on the spot about the initial confusion, about what exactly caused these deaths, what exactly led to the attacks. whose are questioning the secretary here and they have to have a line of questioning, they have to have some evidence to point to the kind of conspiracy that maybe the constituents want but the prosecutors need evidence, something, otherwise it's a fishing expedition. >> so many attorneys on the panel both on the republican side of the aisle and democratic side of the aisle and seeing this tough role they have to play here. we have not had gotcha moments or big reveals where the republicans have come up with evidence where the secretary has really been caught flat footed and on the true