tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN October 22, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. our politics lead today, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. that's why hillary clinton is supposed to be on capitol hill today to offer that truth to face the benghazi select committee panel of house lawmakers charged with finding the facts and reconstructing why ambassador chris stevens, tyrone woods, glen da ter. it took more than an hour for any lawmaker to put the first question about the actual events of september 11th, 2012 to then-secretary clinton. much of the morning session instead revolved around issues
that clinton defenders insist are political. her relationship with friend sydney blumenthal for instance. who was blackballed from the obama administration. her e-mails printed out and stacked side by side as props to suggest that she was engaged in libya in 2011. not so much in 2012. instead of focusing on what clinton called the swirl and whirl of september 11, 2012. and the scrambled response to save americans on the front lines. cnn senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is here with me along with cnn legal analyst jeffrey toobin and paul begala and amanda carpenter. jeff, let me start with you. walk us through this marathon day of testimony. >> jake, this day was 17 months in the making. and clinton's appearance in that witness chair has been the top objective of this committee. but so far after hours of questioning and testimony there's much of a re-run of di visive arguments.
republicans pressed clinton trying to make their case. she failed in her duty to secure the american diplomatic mission in benghazi, libya. democrats dismiss the entire episode as a partisan taxpayer-funded witch hunt. >> you know, i would imagine i've thought more about what happened than all of you put together. i've lost more sleep than all of you put together. >> hillary clinton stood her ground today before the congressional committee investigating the benghazi attacks from her time as secretary of state. her long-awaited testimony shed more fireworks than light on the 2012 assault on the u.s. consulate in libya that took the lives of the u.s. ambassador and three other americans. >> we're going to pursue the truth in a manner worthy of the memory of the four people who lost their lives. and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens. and we are going to write that final definitive accounting of what happened in benghazi. >> but the hearing soon devolved into a familiar partisan
argument that's dominated american politics for much of the last three years. chairman trey gowdy and his fellow republicans pressed clinton for answers, drilling down on the e-mails she sent as secretary of state. >> my question is how did you decide when to invoke a people in process and who just got to come straight to you? because it looked like certain things got straight to your inbox and the requests for more security did not. >> it was this committee that first discovered clinton's use of a private e-mail account. the controversy has consumed her presidential campaign. shining a bright light on her leadership. her long-time friend sydney blumenthal was front and center in the discussion. republicans wondering why she exchanged so many e-mails with him. >> we just heard e-mail after e-mail after e-mail about libya and benghazi that sydney blumenthal sent to the secretary of state. you need to make sure the entire record's correct. >> that's exactly what i want to do. >> but clinton and democrats on the committee aggressively
fought back. >> here's the bottom line. the select committee has spent 17 months and $4.7 million of taxpayer money. we've held four hearings and held 54 depositions. >> a spectacle with extraordinarily high stakes for clinton. the benghazi attack and one its fallout is one of the biggest uncertainties hanging over her candidacy. but from the pure politics of it all a commanding performance last week and yesterday's decision by joe biden to stay out of the campaign, this testimony before the benghazi committee offers an opportunity for clinton to reassure democrats that she's the party's strongest presidential nominee. and, jake, at least so far in this process during a couple first rounds i think she appears to have done that. >> all right. jeff zeleny, thank you so much.
let's bring in dana bash. dana, going into today nearly three out of four americans polled thought that the benghazi committee was politically motivated. do you think republicans have done anything today to set those concerns, that skepticism at ease? >> they certainly have tried, but as many times as trey gowdy says or tries to illustrate that it's not political, democrats as you just heard some of them in jeff's piece come back at the idea of it is political whether it's the money spent, the time spent or at least in the first what four or five hours that we've seen here not a whole lot new that they appear to have unveiled, at least not that they have revealed further questioning of hillary clinton. so i think that this is i think with a lot of things with hillary clinton it's sort of a political roar sack test. if you like her and like the democrats, you think that it's political. if you don't then you think that it's not. and this is no different.
>> dana, we did not see former secretary of state hillary clinton get sworn-in today though of course her entire testimony was under oath. explain to us what happened there behind the scenes. >> so interesting. this probably has happened before, but i don't remember it ever happening. i'm not sure about you, jake. she was sworn-in in private, not in public. and if you actually take a look because we're in the hallway right in front of the committee hearing room, the chairman walked across the hall and went into that room. in fact hillary clinton is in there right now taking a little bit of a break. and when he walked in there that's what he did. he swore her in in private. when i asked the reason it is because they said that they are bending over backwards to show this is not political. you know very well, jake, that one of the most sort of quintessential political images that anybody can have is standing in front of a committee in congress with their hand raised. that is the kind of image that says a thousand words when you're an opponent politically and trying to maybe make a campaign ad against them.
they understood that on the republican side, that's why they did that in private. >> interesting. dana bash, thanks. a lot of claims were made today on both sides of the aisle during this long, intense hearing about benghazi. how many of them simply are not true? we're looking over the testimony. we're going to try to keep everyone honest. stay with us. wait, i can freeze my account. [touch tone] introducing freeze it, from discover. it allows you to prevent new purchases on your account in seconds if your card is misplaced. not here... ♪ and once you find your card, you can switch it right on again. hey...you're back! [touch tone] freeze it, only from discover. get it at discover.com.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. you're looking at a temporarily empty house committee hearing room with so many of the american people watching today with former secretary of state and likely democratic presidential nominee hillary clinton on capitol hill testifying. we're waiting for the representatives to finish a vote and then the marathon session will resume. and congressman jim jordan who provided fireworks earlier today
will get his second chance to ask former secretary of state clinton more questions. let's go to claire mccaskill, senator, good to see you, congratulations so far. >> thank you. >> let's talk specifically about some of the points that i think the republicans have made that still are interesting and i want to get your thoughts on them. let's talk about congressman peter roskam who has made a big point about talking about the grander, the larger picture of libya and what a disaster in his view the administration's policy has been and how secretary of state clinton was the architect of the policy. take a listen to this. >> well, congressman, i think it's important to point out there were many in the state department who believed it was very much in america's interests and in furtherance of our values to protect the libyan people. >> summed it up best when you e-mailed your senior staff and
you said of this interchange, you said it's good to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that this couldn't have happened without us. and you were right, secretary clinton, our libya policy couldn't have happened without because you were its chief architect. >> a fair hit, you think? >> i think that what you're seeing all day long are republicans trying to fit the facts into their narrative. and the facts don't fit. they just don't fit. and it's awkward to watch them try to force the facts around some notion that she was unengaged, that she didn't care, that she was cavalier, that she wasn't involved, that she wasn't knowledgeable. i think she has done a remarkable job under very difficult circumstances of being very calm and collected and showing how engaged and knowledgeable she was. and that everyone was doing their best in a very difficult, dangerous part of the world. >> well, i think it's fair to
say she was engaged, but i think one of the questions that has been out there for years now is whether or not she was sufficiently engaged in the security requests being made by individuals including ambassador stevens. i know that she has instituted when she was secretary of state recommendations from the accountability review board. but do you know why all those requests were rejected? do you as a sitting united states senator have a better idea of why chris stevens and others didn't get the security they asked for? >> well, i think the point she's tried to make and i think she's done it well is that her job it's important to rely on security experts. because requests come in from around the world, especially now in a dangerous and complicated world where we have enemies literally in every country in the world because of the nature of the extreme movement of terrorism around the globe. so all of these requests come in and you have to have experts who
evaluate them and rank the risk and decide where they should move and where they can't move based on the limitations of the budget they were given. and keep in mind this is a secretary of state that prior to the tragedy in benghazi was asking for more funding for embassy security. i mean, as you remember we had a scandal around the embassy security in kabul where they were having to contract with third-world countries for security instead of using the marines. so this is an ongoing problem and she was relying on the trusted experts to weigh the various requests and then make recommendations which of course she acted on. >> congressman jim jordan of ohio honed in on the issue of why the obama administration blamed this anti-muslim video on the attacks when it seemed clear and based on contemporaneous notes by clinton's aides she knew as early as september 12th
that it was a terrorist attack. take a listen to congressman jordan. >> seems to me that night you had three options, secretary. you could tell the truth, like you did with your family, like you did with the libyan president, like you did with the egyptian prime minister. tell them it was a terrorist attack. you could say, you know what, we're not quite sure. don't really know for sure. i don't think the evidence is there. but you could have done that. but you picked a third option. you picked the video narrative. you picked the one with no evidence and you did it because libya was supposed to be as mr. roskam pointed out, this great success story for the obama white house and the clinton state department. >> senator mccaskill, do you think it's possible that the administration and that clinton specifically went with the video narrative not only because that was what some of the information was saying even though certainly not all of the information, but also because she was trying to
be a good soldier? the obama administration, president obama was in the middle of a tough re-election campaign with just days away mitt romney was hammering him and obama was out there saying al qaeda was on the run. is she being tagged because the obama administration and president obama made her go with the video narrative? >> i think that's not fair. there was conflicting information. there were in fact embassy breaches around the area because of the video. the video was very much within the vernacular of dangerous activity that was going on in that neighborhood and there was different information and in fact one of the people who were arrested for this in fact cited the video as part of their motivation, so i think this is once again -- and by the way can i just point out is there anything new here? i think this is the 32nd hearing. we have 11 published reports.
we have eight different committees who have investigated. and have we really heard anything new today other than sid blumenthal wanted to tell her a lot of stuff, which she was not asking for he was just offering? and that's what's frustrating i think to those of us who see this as such a brazen political exercise. marco rubio is raising money off this today for president of the united states. stand with trey gowdy. he sent out his e-mail today. that's just politics, jake. and that's what this is. and i thought one of the most powerful moments that secretary clinton had was when she said when we've had these tragedies before it has not been political, it has been bipartisan, democrats and republicans coming together to try to make these embassies more secure and to make our diplomats more safe. this is, i think, an outrage and a waste of taxpayers money. >> senator mccaskill of missouri, thank you so much. >> you bet. >> we have seen so many tense moments already. you just saw another one in hillary clinton's testimony will resume any minute on capitol
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welcome back to "the lead." our politics lead, secretary of state hillary clinton trying to keep cool as she testifies before something of a hostile audience before the house benghazi committee, at least half of them. so the explosive accusations and fiery words today mostly came from members of the committee sparring with each other. listen to this. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i'd be happy to, but you need to make sure the entire record's correct. >> that's exactly what i'm going to do. >> well then go ahead.
>> i move that we put into the record the entire transcript of sidney blumehal. >> second. >> motion has been seconded. >> we'll take that up -- >> i consulted with the parliamentarian and they have informed us we have a right to record a vote on that motion. >> well, i'll tell you -- >> you want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. well, that's what we want to have. let the world see it. >> why is it that you only want mr. blumenthal's transcript released? the survivors, their names, you want that released? >> no. >> let me tell you something -- >> the only one you've asked for is sidney blumenthal, that and mills. >> cheryl mills. >> that's not true. >> you want to ask -- >> ask for a recorded vote on blumenthal. you said from the beginning you want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. why don't we just put the entire transcript out there and let the
world see it. what do you have to hide? >> these are the only e-mails you have released. and in fairness to mr. blumenthal and american people in the interest of a complete record if you're going to release his e-mails, release his transcript where he has the chance to give the context of those e-mails. >> well, you keep referring to blumenthal e-mails. i would hasten to remind both of you the only reason we have blumenthal e-mails is because he e-mailed the secretary of state. those are her e-mails. that's why they were released. they're not blumenthal's e-mails. and she wanted all of her e-mails released -- >> the blumenthal e-mails, lesser known robert loveland book. let's talk about today's benghazi hearing along with everything 2016. amanda, let me start with you. how are the republicans doing, do you think? >> well, let's be honest. the next election is not going to be a referendum on blumenthal's e-mails or cheryl mills' e-mails but it will be a referendum on the obama-clinton foreign policy.
>> in her character. >> yeah. and her judgment. that's what this hearing is really about. it's a perfectly reasonable thing to have a hearing about what were the decisions that led up to the situation in benghazi? what were our strategic interests there? and why was it so important we had an ambassador there who was in a compound that was not secure, did not have the right military protection, did not have the right protection of the host nation and the fallout that became of that? so, yes, it is a question of hillary clinton's judgment. yes, it is political. and i know you like to call this committee a super pac. >> it is. >> but judging from the democrats performance, if the benghazi committee is a super pac, then the democrats donation was an unkind donation because they did nothing but duck and cover at every turn when i think the american people really need an honest discussion of what happened on the ground and why. >> paul agrees with you. >> it's not. the democrats actually didn't have hillary's back. they didn't need to. she did fine. what they did, which was ingenious, is republicans try to put hillary on trial.
the democrats puts the republicans on trial. she floated above the whole thing. it was a textbook performance. chairman gowdy -- i probably shouldn't say this because he's probably watching, chairman gowdy has handled this so poorly. desires of being a federal judge one day and should have conducted himself like a federal judge. instead he was arguing with the democrats looking nakedly partisan, allowing hillary to float above it. here's my prediction, save this tape. the next time hillary clinton appears before congress it will be january 20th, 2017 to take the oath of office. >> my judgment will be available to the public not by one single hearing or one interview or one transcript. >> let's talk about some of the cogent points being made. peter roskam in his first round started talking about the libya policy and in his view what a disaster it is. that does seem to be something that merits some exploration. >> right. i thought what was interesting is that the shift in sort of what republicans have been
talking about. you know, for the summer we've been hearing essentially nothing but the e-mails, did she abuse classified information, should the fbi investigate, that has come up almost not at all. so the accusation has not been hillary clinton is a criminal. the accusation has been hillary clinton was a bad secretary of state. and that has really been the focus of the inquiry. that seems to me a very legitimate question for the political campaign coming ahead. it's somewhat less clear why that's relevant to what happened in benghazi on 9/11/2012. this is supposed to be an investigation of those events in particular and the inquiry has gone very far afield particularly with this, i have to say, bizarre obsession with the former journalist sidney blumenthal whose name has been mentioned far more often than al qaeda or the actual attackers. >> let me ask you, many members of the committee, republican
members, have made it very clear that they think it's strange that sidney blumenthal a long-time confident of the clintons barred from joining the clinton administration by the obama white house -- i mean barred from joining the obama administration by the white house even though clinton wanted him on her team. that it's strange that he had access, direct access, e-mail access to hillary clinton while ambassador stevens did not. do you think that that is a point that the american people care about? what do you think is the larger issue going on there? i am a little bit at a loss as to why this is getting so much focus. >> the larger issue they're trying to get at is what was hillary clinton's judgment in keeping ambassador stevens on the ground there? the fact that someone who did not have great knowledge, had direct access to her e-mail whereas numerous state department officials clambering to get attention that the security situation was deteriorating somehow didn't get on her radar. if you look at the senate intelligence report you see you
had the cia, you had multiple intelligence agencies in numerous reports saying things are getting worse there. >> sure. >> in the run-up to the attacks. four major incidents, car bombs. >> the british pulled out, red cross pulled out. >> all kinds of things were happening. and the fact that every agency was seemingly warning about this, an attack happened and then they trotted out this falsehood that it was caused by a youtube video when you had all this evidence suggesting that a terrorist attack was going to happen it just doesn't add up. >> paul, let me just say -- about amanda's point. it would have been great if chris stevens desperate for security had -- was anyoble to access to secretary clinton than blumenthal, right? >> no. this came up earlier, fact checker for the post wrote a book about condoleezza rice, he has tweeted that there would be
chaos. there's 200 ambassadors. there is a chain of command. there's a hierarchy, sometimes that can become os fied and that's a problem, but you can't have 200 ambassadors all around the world direct dialing the secretary. this is why they have the professionals. plus, hillary has a lot of gifts, but she's not an expert on embassy security. so the state department has permanent career people who are experts on embassy security. that's where those requests go. >> hang on all of you. we're going to take a very quick break. when we come back more coverage and hillary clinton will be any minute back in front of the benghazi committee. we're going to take you back there live. also more commentary. stay with us. plaque psoriasis...
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republican members of congress trying to get answers about the state department's role what was known and when about the terrorist attack that killed four americans. let's talk with the former spokesman for the white house also a supporter of hillary clinton's presidential run. tommy, thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me, jake. >> i want to play for you one of the nuggets of new information that came out of the hearing so far. this is secretary of state clinton asked if ambassador chris stevens killed tragically that day if he had her private e-mail. >> i do not believe that he had my personal e-mail. he had the e-mail and the direct line to everybody that he'd worked with for years. >> i was a little surprised by that i have to say. i thought given the way that she has talked about him so about he
was her friend, i thought he would have an e-mail for her. were you surprised at all? >> i was not, jake. i would assume a lot of the communications he would send to washington, d.c. would be classified thus he used cabling system or call securely to one of the senior aides to secretary clinton. that's really the best way to get a message to a secretary. so, no, i was not surprised by that. >> what's your impression of the hearing so far? obviously you're biased, clinton supporter and former member of the obama administration. >> yeah. >> has anything come up that you thought has been interesting or worth exploring? >> i mean, i think that my impression of this seems secretary clinton is the only person who really cares and understands about the substance. i think this hearing could have been an important discussion about whether or not we're doing enough to keep our diplomats safe abroad. i think that's a discussion where secretary kerry, the obama administration should have their feet held to the fire and make sure we're implementing the arb report. it's disheartening you're hearing about sid blumenthal's
e-mails more than that. literally no one cares about sid blumenthal's e-mails in america. they care about keeping people safe. the various issues these republicans have been upset about with respect to benghazi has changed so many times over the past several -- you know you cannot come away with any other impression that this is an effort to hurt her politically. so, you know, it's a disappointing taxpayer funded fishing effort to damage her campaign. >> tommy, even though i was white house correspondent at the time you and i talked about this at the time and i still don't officially or unofficially have any understanding, why were all these security requests from ambassador stevens and others on the ground in libya, why did the state department not meet those requests? >> i don't know that answer, jake. it's clearly a failure. four brave people died and, you know, there should have been more security. i think to the question of why
did these requests not get to the secretary, i think that if you step back and think about security requests like this that are very technical in nature, you don't want a secretary coming in and sort of having either a political view or a sort of new set of issues before them every four years or however the turnover is. you want career professionals handling these issues that have, you know, been there before that understand how tall a blast wall needs to be, how far it needs to be set back from a road. that's why we have these people in place. and they are, you know, dedicated to what they do. >> tommy, is it not fair to say that there was some politics going on when it came to the post-attack talking points and the urging of people in the administration to blame this on a video as opposed to blaming it on terrorism? the country was just weeks away from the re-election day for president obama. he was saying that al qaeda was on the run. surely you can acknowledge that
politics was part of this decision? >> no. jake, i'd ask you guys to remember what things were like leading up to that attack. you had in essence a muslims video and there were literally protests, violent ones, in dozens of cities across the world. on the evening of the attack in benghazi in the days following there were news reports that interviewed attackers saying they were there because they were upset about the innocence of muslim videos. the "new york times" did a deep dive that came out a year or so later where they found more people who indicated that. i remember talking to very senior intelligence officials every single morning and saying what is the latest assessment of why this happened? based on open reporting, intercepts, human intelligence on the ground, we were constantly told that this was, you know, sort of not a premeditated attack but this was one that was sort of based on the video inciting people to
anger and a number of other factors. >> there was major contradictory information as well as we heard from the hearing with secretary clinton telling the egyptian prime minister that this was not a matter of the video. this was a terrorist group claiming credit for the attack. >> absolutely, jake. there were a lot of pieces of information that came in. oftentimes they were contradictory. oftentimes that, you know, various pieces of intelligence didn't necessarily match up. so we went through a process led by the intelligence committee to try to sort through how this happened and what we got right and what we got wrong. and sort of that assessment was corrected over time. i think it is fair to be critical of the fact that it took too long to get it right and to put out the most accurate story we had. >> tommy vitor, thank you as always. >> thanks, jake. >> hillary clinton's testimony is going to resume any moment. we'll take you there live after this quick break.
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ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern. i'm a gas service my nrepresentative. n. i've been with pg&e nine years. as an employee of pg&e you always put your best foot forward to provide reliable and safe service and be able to help the community. we always have the safety of our customers and the community in mind. my family is in oakland, my wife's family is in oakland so this is home to us. being able to work in the community that i grew up in,
ignoring the waning calls from dying americans in benghazi. senator ryan paul said benghazi was a 3:00 a.m. phone call that she never picked up. and senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi attack? everyone on this panel knows these accusations are baseless. >> welcome back to "the lead." that's congressman elijah cummings earlier this morning. the democrat ranking member on the house benghazi committee, he was in front of former secretary of state clinton alleging that the only reason all eyes were on capitol hill today was because republicans especially those on the benghazi committee are trying to ruin her chances at becoming the 45th president of the united states. let's bring back our panel cnn senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin, amanda carpenter and paul begala as we await clinton who will resume testimony any moment. jeffrey, we were talking during
the break, there's a big question here that you have not heard answered or even necessarily asked. >> which is why were american officials in benghazi at all? benghazi is not the capital of libya. this was an outpost. why in this extremely dramatic moment where libya is edging towards chaos did ambassador stevens who wanted to be there, why did he go? and was that a smart idea? another point, similar point, you know, we've heard a lot about the cia's role in what happened in benghazi. >> most of the americans in benghazi that night were cia or cia contractors. >> exactly. where were their employers? where were the cia bosses on the issue of security? this is not exclusively a state department issue. it's a very much a cia issue but being treated as if it's entirely a diplomatic security issue. >> this is one of the criticisms from the guy that investigators interviewed a couple weeks ago used to be on the side as a
staffer for the benghazi committee, he had no problem looking at clinton but also wanted to look at cia and national security council and the defense department. and point of fact neither -- >> the tragedy is not solely hillary clinton's responsibility. as secretary of state she has a lot of responsibility for it. hold president obama, vice president biden, and ambassador rice, hillary clinton, everyone made a decision to go into benghazi. nobody understands why. and we know as you've mentioned several times there were many requests for more security and we don't know why that -- those weren't made. but we do know the consequence of that. look at the arb report where they find that a lot of these things were preventable. senate intelligence report says these attacks were very likely preventable based on the known security shortfalls. so we don't know why we're
there. we know it was dangerous. >> we just heard former spokesman for the white house national security council call it a failure. >> everyone agrees. >> he doesn't know why -- >> they want the obama administration to explain why they were there. >> that's the conversation we ought to have. it's not the conversation we're having at this hearing because the hearing's not on the level. it is a partisan witch hunt. we can go back it was the policy of the united states of america to support the overthrow of moammar gadhafi. >> and to save the people of benghazi. >> and try to save the people of benghazi. it wasn't just barack obama and hillary clinton. it was john mccain and lindsey graham. >> and france and uk. >> and europeans. allies in europe and many arab allies. it may have been a bad policy, but don't fool yoouurself that' not what this is about in the least. >> secretary clinton started talking about smart power and the use of power, but i think one of the things we haven't heard enough about okay, once you achieve your objective what
then? what do you do in libya after gadhafi's been deposed or in iraq or syria or wherever? >> she also talked about her belief that the job of diplomats is not exclusively to sit behind a desk in an embassy. it's to go out in the countries that they represent. >> she invoked 19th century diplomats. >> few things about hillary clinton's foreign policy vision because of this hearing talked about willingness to put diplomats in dangerous situations, called it expedition diplomacy. she thinks success in libya was example of smart power and beneficial for the obama administration to lead from behind. i find that a very hard argument to make looking at the consequences of the situation on the ground in libya now where we had 21 christians beheaded on the beach earlier this year and isis has a stronger foothold. we need to have a discussion about that. >> she didn't say lead from behind. that's a phrase you used. >> and arb used in -- stay with
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madame secretary, mr. blumenthal wrote you a hundred e-mails. it appears from our evidence that all of those reached your desk. can you tell us with the man you just testified incredibly professional people trained in the art of keeping us all safe. none of those made it to you, but a man who was a friend of yours who'd never been to libya, didn't know much about it, at least that's his testimony, didn't know much about it every one of those reports that he sent onto you that had to do with situations on the ground in libya those made it to your desk. >> he's a friend of mine. he sent me information he
thought might be of interest. some of it was. some of it wasn't. >> madame secretary -- >> he had no official position in the government and he was not at all an adviser on libya. he was a friend who sent me information that thought might be in some way helpful. >> welcome back to "the lead." congressman pompao -- let's bring in republican congressman from ohio mike turner. congressman, thanks for joining me. do you share your colleagues' interest in the sid blumenthal-hillary clinton relationship? and if so why is it so significant? >> the bottom line here is that this is an investigation about why was there insufficient security, why there was an insufficient backup, why there was not an administration backup plan post- hpost-gadhafi regime. as you go through there are people coming in and out
advising the secretary of state who actually have an impact both on policy and upon the direction that the country goes. but i was just on the house floor voting and i talked to trey gowdy and trey made the point that secretary hillary clinton is one of 80 people testifying. there are a number of things they have to get to the bottom of. bottom line is this goes to four americans died tragically, we need to look at how and how we can avoid this in the future. >> i don't disagree with you in terms of what the hearing should be focused on and we should note for our viewers that people -- witnesses are starting to come back in the room and will bring hillary clinton's testimony to you live when it resumes. but congressman, it seems like there's been a lot of focus on things that maybe the american people don't necessarily understand what they have to do with security and securing american diplomats and others abroad such as this emphasis on sid blumenthal and why hillary clinton read e-mails from him. i understand that's not where
you would focus your attention, were you in charge of the hearings, but a great deal of this hearing so far has been about that. >> well, i think when you look at any of the policy that the administration has pursued or the secretary has pursued with respect to libya and you get to the issue of post-gadhafi plan, you look at advisers and those they were having conversations with and really what elements were going into their overall planning for the security of americans. now, there are a lot that is unknown yet in this investigation. so this is just one part of it, as trey gowdy said, one of 80 witnesses. they have to pursue every aspect because they're trying to get to the bottom line how can we make certain this doesn't happen again? how can we make certain that americans are protected and that americans are secure? that's what this is about. and as they pursue that i think they will get answers that will be very important. >> one of the points that members of the committee republican members have been making has to do with the fact ambassador chris stevens did not according to secretary clinton did not have her e-mail address. those who cover the state
department, those who have worked in government say that's actually not so unusual. you can't have 200 or so ambassadors all reaching out to the secretary of state. where do you come down on this? >> well, i think an important issue here is the fact that the united states going into libya was at the initiation of both the president and secretary clinton. and you would have thought especially with how dangerous it was on the ground, how personal this initiation was to the secretary that she would have had hands on and a great understanding of what was occurring. i think that certainly is that distance is part of what's been highlighted and that certainly results in some of the risks. but this is all about national security. and of course hillary clinton's testifying on the very day that the president has vetoed the national defense authorization act. national security being sort of our theme of, you know, where is the administration, do they have a halfhearted attempt at foreign policy and military intervention? in libya there should have been a very strong post-gadhafi plan and clearly we see this cost american lives.
>> congressman turner of ohio, thank you for coming on the show. you can tweet "the lead," hillary clinton is going to be coming back to testify and we will bring that to you live. i now turn the show every to one mr. wolf blitzer. he's next door in a place i like to call "the situation room." hi. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're continuing to await the return of hillary clinton scheduled to return momentarily. she's already testified for more than five hours. they've been in a break for the past hour or so as members of the committee democrats and republicans have been voting. we're going to have extensive live coverage of hillary clinton's continued testimony of what happened on that day in benghazi. let's go to dana bash. she's up on capitol hill watching what's going on. dana, i assume they're going to be resuming this hearing momentarily? >> that's right. the chairman just went in. hillary clinton just went in that door right there so we do expect them to resume momentarily.