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tv   MSNBC Live With Kate Snow  MSNBC  October 22, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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for staying in libya including in benghazi. >> and i think what we've learned here is, well, nothing, frankly. we didn't know already. the security situation in libya was dangerous. >> right. >> without question. would you say that ambassador stevens was unaware of any aspect of that? >> no, i would not. i think he was very aware. >> so he knew the security situation in libya quite well? >> that's right. >> and yet again i want to be clear on this. in his communications with, and he had many, even if he didn't have your e-mail address, did he ever say, you know, did he raise the security issue directly with you? >> no, he did not. >> and on the day in question, obviously, he chose to go to benghazi. he, as you have described earlier, as, gosh, all across the world today, diplomats are weighing the risks and the benefits in a lot of dangerous
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places. and he had to do that. and he chose to go to benghazi. >> he did. and congressman, ambassadors in the countries they are representing, the united states do not as a practice ask permission from the state department to travel in the country where they are stationed. >> as well they should not. they need to be in charge of their country. also point out on the question of e-mails and which ones you received and haven't received, unfortunately, the state department, which has been spending an enormous amount of time producing documents for this committee, cannot produce thousands of e-mails at the drop of a hat. and the committee chose to prioritize all your e-mails but also ms. abedine's e-mails and sid me blumenthal's e-mails, they chose to prioritize those over the others. the state department is trying to get this information but it's
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the question of the priorities of the committee which brings me to the last point i'll make. and i won't take the full ten minutes here, there are a lot of accusations made become and forth about things that were said that were not true. the one thing that was said in this hearing which is clearly the farthest from the truth is that this is not a prosecution. if you listen to the other side, this is unquestionably exactly that, a prosecution. i mean, i asked viewers to just go back and listen to chairman gowdy's questioning of you before the first break and tell me that that's not a prosecution. i think again, i don't know, shame, embarrassment, whatever word you wish to choose, it shouldn't be a prosecution. we have the former secretary of state here. we should be genuinely trying to inquire about how we can gather more information. now the only interesting facts that seem to be brought up are always referenced back to the arb, which just points up the
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fact that the information that we need -- and again i really want to emphasize this was a serious, serious matter for the united states. a loss of four americans is something we need to take incredibly seriously and investigate and we did. and the information that we found out, as you pointed out, was not always flattering. and there was no question that mistakes were made. and we hopefully learned from them. but that was investigated. so what the purpose of this committee? and you know, when you look at the e-mails they request, when you look at the questioning, the purpose of this committee is to prosecute you. and there will be time enough for that in the next year. you know. and people will do it. we don't need to spend $4.7 million and 17 months to simply prosecute you. and look, the security situation was well known in libya. the security situation in pakistan is well known. i visited the embassy in yemen in 2009 about a month after
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someone had shot a rocket-propelled grenade through the front door. the security situation there is incredibly serious as well as it is in a whole lot of other places. and those are difficult decisions. but the effort here today seems to be that somehow you personally decided not to do your job in libya. okay? you're with apparently the advocate of the policy. apparently passionate about it. but not passionate enough to care about the security situation in libyap about and chris stevens incredibly passionate about libya, wanted to make that country work. it has proven very, very difficult. do we want to go back to moammar gadhafi in charge? i don't think so. and to make a policy point as long as i have a free minutes, interesting to juxtapose libya with syria. because just as many of my republican colleagues are ripping apart the obama administration on all that's involved for choosing to remove gadhafi, they're ripping apart
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the obama administration, all the current officials, for choosing not to get involved in syria. what that points up, frankly, is the difficulty of the job that you had. and i thank you for taking it. i'm not sure i would be so bold. it is a very, very dangerous world. bad things are going to happen. what we are witnessing today is if bad things happen, you'll be dragged out over months and months in this partisan atmosphere. that's very unfortunate. this needed to be investigated. i mean, you norks 9/11, we didn't investigate 9/11, you know, 9/11/2001, just to specify, with the length and depth that we have chose to investigate this. so again, i come back to the central point of the central problem with this committee. it is a prosecution. it is a partisan exercise. it is not trying to investigate and find out the truth.
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and again, we are now -- do a little quick math now -- five hours into it, count the break, maybe four hours into it. we have learned nothing substantively new about what happened in benghazi. very serious things happened. they were investigated, they were reported, mistakes were made, they were reported. but this committee in all that time and effort has unearthed nothing. instead they want to prosecute you. and rip apart your every word, your every e-mail. two staffers five levels down from you who said something bad about you? i mean, my goodness, i hope i don't have to ever undergo that kind of scrutiny. i would not survive it, and i don't think many would. i hope in the hours that we have left to do this, that we will try to circle back to learning something new, to figuring out how we can best strike that balance that you described of being present in the world but also trying to keep our people
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safe throughout the history of the country my aunt was actually a foreign service officer way back when. and you know, we have lost many diplomats. and she tells me about it all the time. and you know, it's a difficult balance. if we can get back to that and learn something new about benghazi, that would be helpful. but right now the committee is not doing a service to the four people who died or their families or to prevent any of these future incidents for happening. i thank you for your willing tons do a very difficult job. i yield the remainder of my time. >> madam secretary, if you remember an hour or so ago we were talking about the diplomatic security folks on the night of the incident. and it appears that you wanted to say a little bit more about that and what they -- speaking of that, the incident, would you like to elaborate?
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>> well, thank you, congressman. you know, i don't want anything that is said to me or about me to take away from the heroic efforts that the diplomatic security officers exhibited. the five men who were with chris and sean smith risked their lives repeatedly. and were themselves under grave threat. i wanted to point out that even when we try to get it right, which we do try, sometimes there are unintended consequences and there is an example out of this tragedy. coming out of previous assessments of takens on facilities, we now have safe havens, safe rooms in facilities
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particularly residences. the diplomatic security officers were able to get both chris and sean into that safe room. of course, the idea behind the safe room, why security experts advocated for them, was to protect our civilians, our diplomats from attacks like the ones that was occurring. the attackers used diesel fuel to set the compound on fire. and the safe room was anything but safe. i'm sure the committee members know that neither chris stevens nor sean smith died from injuries directly inflicted by the attackers. they both died of smoke
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inhalation. and one of the recommendations in this arb report is that when we have safe havens, we need to have equipment that will enable people that are safe within them to withstand what happened in benghazi. the lead diplomatic security officer who was with both the ambassador and sean smith endeavored to lead them to safety through a wall of black smoke. he wanted to get them out of the compound interior up to the roof where they could be out of the fire and also out of the attackers' assault. he himself nearly died of smoke inhalation. when he looked around to make sure that both sean and chris were with him, he couldn't find
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them. rather than proceeding and saving himself, which would be a natural human instinct, he turned back into that black diesel smoke desperately trying to find chris and sean. he did find sean. and sean had succumbed to smoke inhalation. and the diplomatic security officer managed to take sean out of the building. he could not find chris stevens. one of the horrors of the hours after the attack was our failure to be able to find where the ambassador was. we hoped against hope that he had somehow gotten himself out of the compound and he was alive somewhere, maybe in the back. and additional efforts by the
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diplomatic security officers and then eventually by the cia reinforcements that arrived to find his body or to find him, hopefully, were unsuccessful. and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack back to the cia aneck before we knew what had happened to the ambassador. we were desperate. and we were trying to call everybody we knew in benghazi and libya, get additional help. what appears to have happened at some point later is that libyans found ambassador stevens, and they carried him to the hospital in benghazi. and libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to try to resuscitate him.
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and i mention all of this because i want not just the committee members but any viewers in the public to understand that this was the fog of war. that the diplomatic security officers and then later the cia officers responded with heroism, professionalism as they had been trained to do. we thought things would be safe. they were fortified much more securely than the compound and had nothing to do with the state department. it also turned out to be a target for the militants which is where the two cia contractor, mr. woods and mr. doherty died. but in looking at all of the
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information, the accountability review board and particularly admiral mullen who was focused on what happened, what the security personnel did that night came out agreeing that they were heroic and they did all they could do to try to save their colleagues' lives. >> thank you. >> the gentleman yields back. madam secretary, i appreciate you going through their heroism. i really do. it is moving to hear. and frankly, it infuriates me to hear folks to my left who don't raise a single whisper about spending $50 million to train five isis fighters but god forbid we spend one-tenth of that to give some answers to the family members sitting on the first row. so i appreciate you discussing their heroism while some of my colleagues discuss money. with that, mr. pompeo.
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>> i should add to that, i think mr. smith gave o soliloquy. i think it was eloquent. but it was representative of the behavior of democrats on this panel since may of 2014. not one finger, not one question for a witness. they say they want get at the truth but the truth of the matter is they spent most of their time today attacking members of this committee and this process. i regret that. i think that's a violation of their duty to the country and most importantly their duty to families. i want to go back to a couple things we talked about the day before, madam secretary. ambassador stevens didn't have your e-mail. >> i'm sorry, what did you ask me? >> ambassador stevens did not have your personal male address, we've established that? >> yes, that's right. >> did he have your cell phone number? >> no, but he had the 24-hour of the state operations in the state department that can reach me 24/7. >> yes, ma'am.
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did he have your fax number? >> he had the fax number of the state department. >> did he have your home address? >> no, i don't think any ambassador has ever asked me for that. >> did he ever stop by your house? >> no, he did not, congressman. >> mr. blumenthal did and did both of those things. he had access to you in ways that were very different than the access that a very senior diplomat had to your and your person. i had a picture up here a bit ago of a man named wisami wisamin habid. was he present at the compound the night that ambassador stevens was killed? >> we're trying to track down the basis of your question, congressman. we have no information at this time. >> my question is a yes or no question. it's pretty simple. >> well, i don't have any information that i can provide to you yes or no.
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>> the answer to the question is were you briefed, and the answer is? >> we don't know anything about it. so how can i be briefed about something i don't know anything about? >> are all arbs created equal? >> well there have been 19 including the one that we impaneled after benghazi. they've all been led by distinguished americans. they've all been set up in accordance with the laws and the rules that the congress established when they created the legislation to establish arbs, so i assume in those respects they are created equal. >> yes, ma'am. i asked a pretty simple yes or no question. i'm happy to let you expand. i'm happy to bring breakfast in. but when asked a yes or no question, it would sure be helpful if we can get to the answer. it wasn't a trick question at all. are the recommendations of each arb worthy of equal treatment?
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>> well, they certainly are worthy of follow-up by the department, and i believe they this have been. >> there was an arb -- please put up the poster -- in 19898. you said this before. 200 folks were killed. it said special mission security posture that was inadequate for benghazi excuse me this was from the most recent one i want to know if you agree with this special security posture that was inadequate for benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with what took place. do you agree with that statement from the current arb? >> i accepted the recommendations -- >> my question is whether you agree with it? >> i don't think that's a relevant question, congressman. i think the question is i accepted their recommendations and obviously their recommendations were based on their very thorough investigation and analysis. so clearly i endorsed the entire
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board's work. >> in january 2014 senator feinstein said in her report, quote, the incidents at the tmf and cia were likely preventable, end of quote. do you agree with that statement from senator feinstein's report? >> i would like to think that anything of that magnitude and the loss of life could have in some way been preventable. i think what the arb recommended were steps to try to enhance our ability to prevent a future attacks. >> i want to go back now i have the right poster up i apologize for thatp about in 1998, the arb said the secretary of state should personnel review the security situation of embassies and other premises. closing those which are highly vulnerable and threatened. you told us all day today that you don't think you should have been involved quoting again from the arb personally reviewing security.
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how do you square that? >> well, there are a couple of important points to make about this, congressman. first, i made a number of decisions to close embassy, chanceries and other. and i had to evacuate all the americans out of libya. we had to lease ferries that came from malta. we closed embassies and other facilities when we had a strong consensus recommendation that it was necessary to do. so that is a statement, secretarial responsibility. now, with respect to looking at every security request, how high should the wall be, whether there should be barricades placed on the east or the west side, that is handled by the security professionals. so clearly i closed embassies, i recommended that embassies and other facilities be closed.
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so i understand what that point is. >> madam secretary, this is a yes or no question. do you think you complied with the arb in 1998 said and personally reviewed the security of benghazi? >> well, that is not what my understanding of the 1998 arb -- they're right there. >> and i just answered. i personally reviewed security situation of chanceries and other official facilities that were recommended because they were highly vulnerable and threatened to be closed. and we closed some. some we were able to reopen. which is kind of part of the process. with respect to the 1998 arb recommendations, by the time i became secretary, have succeeded two secretaries who served under very dangerous and threatening times, there was an assessment made that i certainly was briefed into that we had to look
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at how best to professionalize the security and the expert advice that we were receiving. that was exactly what i did. and i went further than that. i created a new position, a deputy secretary for resources and management. i also had recommended after our arb, the deputy assistant secretary for high threats. so this was a constant discussion about how to make us secure, but not whether or not the secretary of state should decide on the height of the barricades. i think that's where we may not be fully understanding one another, congressman. of course -- >> i think we understand each other perfectly. >> -- about closing embassy, chanceries and other premises that were vulnerable and threatened, of course they came to me. i had to make the decision. deciding whether the wall would
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be ten feet, 12 feet, whether there would be 3 security agents or 5, that was the province of the professionals. >> madam secretary another one from the 1998 arb. first and foremost the secretary should take a personal and active role in taking care of the security of u.s. diplomatic personnel abroad. do you believe you complied with that requirement from a 1998 arb? >> yes, i do. i believe that i had established a process and i said earlier today a state department and security professionals had to be 100% right. and i think that what happened in benghazi was a tragedy and something that, you know, we all want to prevent from ever happening again, but there were many, many situations, many security issues that we had to deal with during the four years
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that i was secretary of state. and i did leave what i hope will be a very important additional position, namely the deputy for high threat posts that now will focus solely on what are considered the highest threat places in the world for our personnel. >> madam secretary, i hope you can understand the difference between creating a deputy under-assistant secretary and america's senior diplomat getting involve in personal security. the amount of resources that can be moved, the speed at which they will be moved rested only in your hands. >> well, i would respectfully disagree with that, congressman. it's been my experience that you want to find people who are dedicated 100% to security. you don't want a secretary or anyone dipping in and out, maybe making decisions based on factors other than what the professionals decide. at least that is my very strong opinion. >> yes, ma'am. leaders lead.
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i've just got a few seconds. in all of the materials that have been produced to us today, i have not yet found the document that was prepared at your request for post-gadhafi planning. did you have such a document prepared prior to the time that mr. gadhafi was removed? >> we had a number of documents. we had a long list of areas that we were working on and the process for following up on those areas. i don't know if it was one or a dozen, but we had a lot of work that was ongoing both at the state department and at usaid. >> and did you ask for those documents to be prepared? do you know if you had a team working on that? or if it was just something happening of its own accord? >> we had a number of people who were working on that. as i said, i sent both of my deputies out to libya to meet with the libyans. you know, we can do all the planning we want in washington, but it's very important ask the libyans both what they want and what they expect from us. so we had an ongoing dialogue
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that lasted over many months. >> yes, ma'am, i agree with that. we'll get a chance the talk about that in a bit. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair will recognize the gentlelady from illinois. >> i apologize. my question will be a little bit boring because i'll get into details that actually have to deal with security and how we can better safeguard america's diplomats now and onwards. from -- i have to say that the arb conducted by admiral mullen, a man of great military pedigree and long service to this nation, quite honorable brave service as well as ambassador pickering, i thought was well conducted and well thought out. and in fact, don't just take my word from it. i'm a pretty low ranking member of the house. but the republican chairman of the house armed services committee also, you know, and never once in our committee did
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i hear him malign the work that was done on an arb as we on our committee also looked into what happened. i want the look a some of the findings from that arb and examine the failures of the blue mountain libya security guards and the february 13 militia on that exact day, september 11, 2012. my understanding is in benghazi, neither the host country's militia forces nor the state department's private local guards were capable of defending our personnel. they either didn't show up, they retreated in face of danger or lacked the tools to fight back ektively. i want to learn the lessons of benghazi and hold everyone accountable. not just the state department but every agency involved as well as congress, ourselves and this committee itself. for implementing significant comprehensive reforms that will prevent future tragedies. so locking at the work that i've done on the armed services committee and oversight
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government reform, i've been consistently concerned with the cost and consequences of federal contract mismanagement. costs the american taxpayers a lot of dollars. i want to look t the state department's policy for awarding local guard contracts using a very inflexible contract vehicle known as the lowest price technically acceptable or lpta vehicle. i think that should raise red flags here in congress. such as buying body armor for troops overseas or barriers for embassies, i don't know that lowest price technically acceptable is the right vehicle. so can you discuss a little bit why is it that the state department appears to have awarded local guard contracts in libya using this contracting method? >> congresswoman, i think that's another very important question. i think the state department, like much of the rest of the government, often feels under pressure to go to the lowest
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price. whether or not that lowest price is the best contract. and we had a hot of challenges -- not just in libya, but many places around the world -- trying to work to find the right contractors to provide static security for a lot of our posts and facilities. to find more kinetic contractors who could be the frontline of defense since we -- as we discussed earlier, were stationed in so many places where there were not american military that could be called and quickly respond. so i would like very much and perhaps there could be a working group with armed services and foreign affairs and others to look to see whether we couldn't get a little more flexibility into this decision-making. because the february 17th militia was viewed by the cia, which had vetted it as well as
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by our diplomats, as a reliable source for kinetic support. sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. and the static support proved to be not very useful at all on that night. so i think you're really raising an important issue about how to get more flexibility into the contracting because we're not going to be able to bring american military forces to every place where we are in a high-threat post either because the military can't afford to do that for us or the host country won't invite us in. and the other problem, as you pointed out, is if the host country doesn't have any real resources, it's hard to know how much they can produce. that night i was calling the president of libya and demanding that he find any friendly militia, any friendly anybody to show up and to support us.
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when our reinforcements, the security reinforcements from tripoli landed, a militia showed up and, in fact, kept them there until they had a big enough group the accompany them to the cia annex. so it's a very unpredictable and even erratic process. and it starts with, in many instances, the lowest price. and i don't think that's always the best way to get a contract for security. >> i happen to agree with you. and i think actually the lpta that i'm talking about, that actually sets very inflexible standards for specifically the department of state is a law passed by congress in 1990. so when you talk about maybe some sort of a working group, congress needs to do our part and maybe amend a 35-year-old law that forced the state ta department to go with the lowest price. can you address what actions congress can fix problems that have to do with host country instituted policies given the
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use of private security guards. my understanding is that the country of libya, is host nation in this case did not allow your security contractors to carry firearms. the blue mountain guards. i think the blue mountain guards were not allow to carry firearms, is that right? >> blue mountain was not. certainly our diplomat security officers were. the militia members who were supposed to be providing din etic help for us were. so it was only the static guards that were not. now, i will say that some of those guards did stand their ground. they were basically run over. several of them were injured the night of the attack. so i don't want to cast apersians on all of them and the service they provide d or the service they provided. it was inadequate. >> are we facing those type of restrictions in other nations as well, in other hot spots? we talked about the 19 missions
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that are out there. would these type of issues with the contracting and the host nation requirements? >> yes, we do. the host nation gets to call a lot of the shots. under the vienna convention, the host nation is responsible for providing security for diplomatic posts. but when a host nation is either unwilling to do so as we do have in some places where we are present or unable to do so -- because i do think with the libyans, there was a desire to be helpful but not a capacity to produce what we needed. we have to really work hard to get the kind of support that is required. and in some cases we've been able to work out arrangements with the host countries, some we've just defied them and tried to be very quiet about what we
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were doing and others we are prohibited. so again, it goes back to that balancing of risk and reward that we're always doing. >> going back to the arb conducted by admiral mullens and ambassador pickering, how many of the recommendations did u.s. secretary of state accept? >> i accepted all of them. they made 29 recommendations, congresswoman. i accepted all 29 of them. and began to implement them before i left the state department. and i know that secretary kerry has continued that work. >> do you recommend for future secretaries and for this committee and other members of congress some sort of a formal review process as we go onwards? i don't want there to be a review process that the triggered by death of americans. this goes back to my earlier question about institutionalization of this process so that we make sure that our men and women in embassies right now are safe and that they're safe tomorrow and a year from now and ten years from
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now. what needs to be done so that we can make sure that our four heroic dead did not lay down their lives in vain? >> before the attacks in benghazi, the congress never fully funded the security requests that the administration sent to congress. following benghazi, that has improved. but there are still areas where i think great eer funding and responsiveness would be helpful. it is unfortunate that we didn't get all the resources that might have enabled us to do more and all the high threat posts before benghazi. but i appreciate what the congress has done since. the one specific recommendation that i would like to see the congress act on expeditiously is the training famt that would be set up in order to train diplomatic security officers specifically for these
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high-threat situations. and i think this is overdue. i know on a bipartisan basis representatives from virginia, which is the state where the site that has been identified is found have urged in a recent op-ed that the congress act on this. i would certainly echo that as well. >> thank you. i yield. >> madam secretary, they've called votes, but we're going to try to get in mp mr. roscom and ms. brooks for ten seconds. >> just to clarify for the record, i made a statement previously that we had received none of under-secretary patrick kennedy's e-mails. we've received some through production of other individuals's e-mails. we've not received a full production of under-secretary kennedy's e-mail. we have some but through other production. yield back. >> gentleman from illinois.
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>> can i direct your attention to the screen? your familiar with that clip. we came, we saw, he died. is that the clinton doctrine? >> no. that was an expression of relief that the military mission undertaken by nato and our other partners had achieved its end and, therefore, no more american, european or arab lives would be at stake in trying to prevent gadhafi from wreaking havoc on libyans or causing more problems to the region and beyond. >> i want to direct your attention and maybe direct the group's attention right now to something that hasn't really been discussed. there's been this explicit criticism of republicans being partisans today. but i want to direct your attention to what is actually going on with you and your team,
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many of whom are here today with you. so jake sullivan, one of your close advisers that you just told us about, put together the tick tock on libya memo. and that was a memo that was all about you. it put together 22 different accomplishments and you were the central figure in all 22 of those accomplishments. i've got to tell you, it's really well put together. he uses language of action, initiative and leadership. hrc, that's you, obviously, announces, directs, appoints special enjoy, travels to g-8, secures russian abstention, secures transition of command and control, travels to berlin, rome, abu dhabi, istanbul. he's basically laying the foundation that the libya policy is your policy. essentially he's making the argument that it's your baby. and you were clearly familiar with this timeline because, in e-mail exchanges with your
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senior staff, you were not happy about it. and the part that you weren't happy about wasn't that you were the focal point. is that it didn't include enough. so you said, this is your e-mail, what bothers me is that the policy office prepared the timeline but it doesn't include much of what i did. another time you said the timeline is totally inadequate. which bothers me about our record keeping. i'll come back to that in a minute, madam secretary. i was in paris 3/19 when attack started. it's not on the timeline. what else is missing? go over as soon as possible. now, this timeline was put together, according to your senior staff, explicitly for an article that came out in "the washington post" entitled "clinton's key role in libya conflict" and in fact, according to your staff, quote, the comprehensive tick tock memo jake had put together was done in large part for the war at
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pea -- warrick piece done at "the washington post." the great detail jobby had came entirely from jake sullivasulli. jobby didn't do any independent research. that's according to your staff. this article, it's one of these articles that you read a couple of times. if it's about you. here's some excerpts. "washington post," a foreign policy success for the obama administration and its most famous cabinet minister, secretary of state hillary rodham clinton. or this, she went to paris, there were no instructions from the white house on whether to support strong action in libya, said a senior state department official, yet within three days the official said clinton began to see a way forward. and i think my personal favorite is this. clinton, ignoring the advice of state department lawyers, convinced obama to grant full diplomatic recognition to the rebels. now, you and your team were
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pleased with the work that you did and the risks that you took, the leadership that you took -- you know, a couple of hours ago you toemd me, hey, i'm the diplomat here, i'm driving the policy. and isn't it true ta you'd been thinking about getting political credit actually for months on this? >> no. >> well, if that's your attention -- >> but congressman, please, if i could. >> sure. >> we were trying to make sure that what was written because it's not always accurate, in case you all haven't noticed in your own careers, what was written about a very important foreign policy effort by this administration was accurate. this was all in response, as i understand it, to a reporter trying to ask questions and us providing the best possible information we could. in fact, trying to make sure that we ourselves had a good
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timeline and that our recordkeeping was accurate. i think that is not an uncommon experience here in washington. somebody calls you up and says, i'm writing a story, what can you tell us and you tell them. >> secretary clinton, that's not all that was going on, though, isn't that right? because you knew that this was good for you. because this is what you were writing in august, august of 2011, this is right after tripoli fell. you wrote, what about the idea of my flying to martha's vineyard to see the president for 30 minutes and then making a statement with him alone? our asked your staff, how to convince the white house that this would be good for the president? and these are your words, madam secretary, a great opportunity to describe all that we've been doing before the french try to take all the credit. in fact, your staff told you that they thought it would be a political boost for the president showing that he was huddling with you instead of being on vacation. and so you asked your chief of
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staff cheryl -- or jake sullivan asked your chief of staff, cheryl mills to call dennis mcdonough, now the president's chief of staff, to put together a full-court press -- i'll wait while you read jake's note. >> thank you. because i don't -- >> here's my question. >> yeah, i'm waiting for a question. >> well, go ahead, you finish reading and i'll start talking. >> well, one thing i wanted -- since i don't have what you're reading in front of me. >> it's tab 12. >> well, that has now been handed to me. and it's clear that i wanted to make sure chris stevens, jeff feltman, dod got credit. i wrote that. you did not quote that. >> yeah. >> well -- let's -- >> that's your state of mind at that particular point. you were thinking about credit for you, isn't that right? >> no, it's not. i wanted those who are part of this policy to be given recognition and i also wanted to be sure that we had the
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president and the white house coordinating with us. it was a very gutsy decision for the president so make, congressman. it was not by any means an easy call, as i alluded earlier this morning. i was in that situation room many, many times watching the president have to balance competing interests, competing opinions, trying to make a decision. when he made the decision that the united states would support nato and support the arabs, there was no guarantee about how it would turn out. and i personally believe he deserved a lot of credit as did chris stevens, jeff feltman, the department of defense and other. we had a daily phone call, a daily secure phone call that often included the president, included, you know, the generals and admirals responsible for our mission, included our top diplomats. this was a very important and challenging effort that we undertook in large measure to support our nato allies. so i wanted everybody 40 had any role in it to be acknowledged.
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then on august 2011, you received an e-mail from sidney blumenthal, that's tab 11, in which he wrote this to you. this is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it. when gadhafi himself is finally removed, you should, of course, make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are even if the driveway of your vacation home. you must go on camera. that was blumenthal's admonishment to you. >> and i don't recall doing that, just in case you're going to ask me. >> look, the timing, you forwarded blumenthal's suggestion to jake sullivan. and you were focused on how dramatic it would be. you were working to make this the story of the day, isn't that right? this is your e-mail to jake, this is tab 11. this is your words, madam secretary. sid makes a good case for what i should say. but it's premised on being said after gadhafi goes, which will make it more dramatic. that's my hesitancy, since i'm
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not sure how many chances i'll get. so two months before the end of the gadhafi regime and you're already planning on how to make your statement dramatic to maximize political gains, isn't that right? >> congressman, i think that what we were trying to do was to keep the american people informed about this policy. it was, as you recall, somewhat controversial. now, there were republicans as well as democrats who advocated for it and there were republicans as well as democrats who were concerned about it. so i think as secretary of state i did have an obligation at some point to be part of the public discussion about what had occurred. and i see nothing at all unusual about trying to figure out when would be the best time to do that. >> isn't it true that your staff heard from the white house after the warrick piece in "the washington post" that they were
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concerned, that is the white house, at the amount of credit that you were getting as opposed to the amount of credit the president's getting, that's true, isn't it, madam secretary? >> look, the president deserves the lion's share of the credit. >> then why is the white house uptight that you're taking the credit? >> i was often being asked that. the president had a lot of other stuff going on. he was still trying to, you, rescue the economy. a lot of other things happening. from my perspective, the president deserves the credit. he's the one that made the decision. i was honored to be part of the team that advised him and in so far as i was able, to explain what we did and explain what the import of it was, i was ready to do so. >> when jake sullivan, tab 11, e-mails you and said that you wanted -- you should publicize in in all of your television appearances. have you lay down something definitive almost like the clinton docketry. that wasn't the obama doctrine, is that right, madam secretary? >> well i --
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>> this was the clinton doctrine. >> well, i think the effort we made, the way i put together the coalition, that imposed sanctions on iran, i think that there's a lot to talk about. i talked about smart power. you're talking about what i believe. i believe we have to use every tool at our disposal. lead with diplomacy, support with development and when necessary as a last resort, not a first choice, defense. so yes, is that what i believe, it is what i believe. and i think that, you know, libya was to some extent an example of that. >> you were author of the libyan policy. you were one that drove it, it was your baby and it was an attempt to use smart power and that's what you tried to do? >> it was certainly something that i came to believe was in the interests of the united states to join with our nato allies and arab partners in doing the decision as all decisions in any administration was made by the president.
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so the president deserves the historic credit. what role i played, i'm very grateful to have had that chance, and i'm -- you know, very convinced that it was the right thing to do. >> you just recited the clinton doctrine to us. let me tell you what i thing the clinton doctrine is, where an opportunity is seized to turn pentag progress in libya to a political win for hillary clinton. and take a sunday lap on the shows three times that year before gadhafi was killed and then turn your attention to other things. i yield back. >> well, congressman, that is only a political statement which you well understand and i don't understand why that has anything to do with what we're supposed to be talking about today. >> madam secretary. votes have been called. so we will go vote and be in recess. and we'll be back as quickly as we can.
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>> another testy exchange to bring us to a temporary halt in the afternoon session. you heard chairman gowdy say that votes have been called. we're here in the studio lawrence o'donnell, eugene robins robinson, steve kornacki. lawrence, last to speak before our last break. what did you make of this exchange? >> as we ended, when a hearing moment ends, on a witness being able to say, i don't know what this has to do with why we're here, and for the witness to be right is a failure of the committee. you know, i was giving grades to members in the early rounds and peter roscum got a "c," he got an "f" for than spent his entire time fighting with former secretary of state about the issue of was anyone on your team trying to claim credit for you?
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was your press secretary, whose job, by the way to try to get credit for you, was that person trying to get credit for you? these people are here to investigate serious matters. every one of them, every one of those members, has people in their employ, in their washington office, back in their district -- >> to make the most of their achievement -- >> whose job, to give credit, if something happens it's because of the congressman. the idea something suddenly unholy about this, these people are reducing this to absurdity. they could have had a solid two-hour hearing today on points of merit, points worthy of consideration, worthy of further investigation, even. they haven't done that. >> i will concede that the discussion of the grim nitty-gritty details of the military operation that brought down benghazi was in her
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telling. >> absolutely, yes. and there was a moment secretary clinton got a long stretch of being able to tell her account what she did, what she went through what she was trying to accomplish. as soon as she heard there was a problem, and there wasn't anyone in that room who could find any fault with what she was doing once she heard there was a problem in benghazi. >> gene? >> i agree. i would say that's the part, to me, kind of got us away from politics for a minute, because it was just a gripping, fascinating, and at times harrowing description minute to minute, tick tock of what happened. they looked for him there and the state department officer went in and found -- could not find the embassy and didn't know where he was and finally found him in a hospital where the libyans tried to revive him for two hours. that -- a lot of that was detail and i realize a lot of it has come out, but to hear the
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secretary of state describe it in that way, i thought, was -- i don't know if this day of hearings one could call riveting, that was riveting to me. >> steve kornacki, we keep hearing from members saying we're going to hear more about that, we're going to hear more about this that indicates threads to come of the same -- a lot of the same arguments. >> a lot of the same argument but was they've been all over the place too, in terms of what they're trying to convey. i think going into this the challenge for republicans, the challenge for trey gowdy for the democratic side to treat this like a serious herer hearingen thinking back to whitewater hearings, democrats believe were attempt to take down the clintons. democrats when they haeld hearings were forced to treat it as a serious investigative matter. democrat after democrat at this hearing today is taking almost all of their time just to say, we shouldn't be here, we've investigated this before. >> true.
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>> to reiterate kevin mccarthy said this was a politically motivated thing. the challenge for republicans walking in was make it impossible for democrats to do, raise issues, raise questions, bring forward new information that would make democrats use their time to ask serious, probing questions and make it look like a real, genuine bipartisan investigative effort. what the democrats knew going in, we had it in our nbc news poll, ask the american people, majority going into this, said they thought this was politically motivated. the challenge for republicans was to turn that around. i think the average viewer looking at this sees a political match. >> scatter shot questioning. >> right. >> tammy duckworth is having her own hearing today. >> exactly. >> she's not part of any party. >> she's unique among members. >> she doesn't rush to hillary clinton's defense on something the last republican just said. she's actually conducting a hearing that is about the safety of the diplomatic core, which is what this issue should be about, first of all.
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yes, you can get into the other issues but she's keeping it on that, what have we improved, what could we have done better and particular about it. and it really is as if she's having her own subcommittee of one over there that's the only one paying attention. >> i don't mean this to sound trite, the only member of the committee who gave both of legs in a military effort overseas, tammy duckworth, decorated iraq veteran. we're going to fit a break in here. and we're obviously watching this time-out for a vote on the house side of the u.s. capitol. chairman gowdy promised they'd be back as soon as possible. as will we after this break. it's time for the "your business" entrepreneurs of the week. every fall washington, d.c. small businesses combine commerce and culture opening up five neighborhoods for their annual art all-night festival. shopper and art lovers invited to explore different parts of the city until wee hours in the
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and critical minerals production act of 2015 of of all of the people in the studio, lawrence o'donnell has the most time logged on capitol hill. he reminds us, this bill probably has the least to do with minerals and production. >> but the titles are always the most creative part of any piece of legislation. >> and we'll see what's actually in this. andrea mitchell, who tells us she needs to go prepare her report tonight for nbc "nightly news" will take that claim at face value what happen stood out to you from the last segment of this hearing? >> reporter: i was just going to go research what that minerals amendment was. >> there you go. >> reporter: but there i have no earthly idea. lawrence would certainly know better than i what happen stood out to me what you guys have been discussing, that they missed an opportunity, so far at least, to get to the root cause of why was there a terrible security failure, what have they done to fix it and that hillary clinton, unlike what happened back in 2013, when she was
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admittedly recovering from a concussion and other ailments, she is poised. she is steady. she has signaled both with her put-downs, you can read that in my book, or i don't accept your narrative or that's your story but those aren't the facts, sir, or just with her facial expressions, brian. she has shown attempts at humor or laughing off their efforts to get her to look at tab 17 or else just an expression of weariness, patience, and dare i say, at times, contempt. that seems to be sort of the demeanor of the former secretary of state, facing this panel which so far at least has not covered itself with glory, although they've got some good ammunition if you will, asking her why there wasn't more security, why chris stevens
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wasn't listened to, but that was all pursued by previous hearings. there have been seven previous hearings and they have, with a number of witnesses, including deputy chief, made it clear all requests were either denied or ignored and she's made the point none of them got to her level than was an institutional question, which i think that they could do a better job of pursuing. i don't know what your takeaway is but it seems to me there are a lot of lessons that should be learned and she has discussed what reforms have taken place. but there could be a lot more said about why the mission was not better protected. >> i will say, maybe this is coming, andrea, a lot of us were surprised that the -- there hasn't been more of a drilling down on how ferocious the attack was on the compound how many elements it contained. forensic investigation, after the fact that revealed the
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caliber of weapons that were used, eyewitness accounts, vehicles, armaments, really harrowing thing to read. she took us through some of it but on her own. >> she offered that and trey gowdy gave her the time to go through it. and it was compelling, eugene and lawrence, you have discussed that. i've seen some of this before and covered some of this before but every time you hear it, it is breathtaking what they went through and libyans found chris stevens body and brought them to a hospital. i went through that night in our bureau calling intelligence and state department officials and they did not know where the u.s. ambassador was. that said, i do think that they have a lot of explaining to do, why were they relying on local militias so heavily infiltrated by militant elements? why did they think that they did
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not need mora reason guards or diplomatic security or cia security for the cia mission? such reluctance to disclose it wasn't an intelligence. part of the mission to reclaim weapons that the insurgents had, weapons that we helped supply them and the insurrection against gadhafi, because, as you remember, we didn't have boots on the ground, it was a nato air operation but we supplied them with a lot of the weaponens and that mission to get the weaponry back. the reason they were well armed, classic blowback, again, as we'd seen in afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. >> andrea mitchell, you're free to go continue your reporting. we'll talk to you long the way. andrea reminds me that ambassador stevens died of smoke inhalation. we saw fire used as a terrorist weapon and at the hotel in
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india, we've seen fire used as a terrorist weapon before, as a result, big city fire departments, including but not limited to the fdny here in new york city, trained for fire as a terrorist weapon notable. chris matthews, watching along with us, out in san francisco today. chris, we haven't checked in with you since the afternoon break. >> yeah. well, it is -- they've not been effective in coordinating their thinking or their strain of thought here this afternoon. i thought hillary clinton grabbed a great moment that i was hoping she would in these hearings today to tell the given narrative what it was like to be secretary clinton during the hell of this event, this tragedy. and what it was like to get the first word. what was it it like to try to save this guy and save his fellow americans officer there's including security people and every step she took, i thought she talked about the safe area that they were putting people
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in, safe haven, if you will how that didn't work as a way of protecting people because they started a fire using diesel fuel, it's lethal so quickly. the terror ifs were quick to take advantage of using a safe hafben and threatening, ending the life of the ambassador in doing of. i thought she was compellingen i don't think she was phony. i thought she told a story firsthand, or rehearsed it may have been thought about. jonathan carp, publisher of her book, "hard choices" put out freebie, rare in the publishing business, the chapter in her book about benghazi. i was reading on the plane here. it's quite a chapter. if you want a fuller look at what it's like to be hillary clinton during this whole horror, it's all in the chapter, which anybody can get for free, i think, online from simon and shuster. it's smart that she told that story because, until now, that
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video of her saying, what difference does it make, was the compelling trumping case that she wasn't really coming clear in terms of the horror of this thing. now she has. and i think it was great for her that she got it on the record today and it makes it available, i think, possibly to be used by her campaign for president. i wouldn't be surprised, her testimony in this regard could be pretty strong. >> chris matthews who predicted today would be about changing soundbyte, changing the quote, in effect from "what difference does it make?" to what we've received from the former secretary today. another gentleman standing by, chief washington correspondent for "the new york times" david sanger, the question is, you're crashing the a1 lead piece for the paper tomorrow, what's your suggested headline to the editors who take ed line writing seriously? >> well, you know, fortunately, reporters don't write headlines and i'm not writing think particular story but if i was
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putting together a headline for this now i would say that the republicans try to chip away but secretary clinton sticks largely to her story. i thought what was interesting was that, as the day went on, the conversation got more and more political and just before the break, you saw some fairly sharp exchanges in which you had the accusation that secretary clinton's documents, letters, e-mails back and forth, seemed to suggest that her staff was more interested in positioning her politically to take credit for whatever happened in libya. the fact of the matter is, while all secretaries try to take credit for anything they're involved in, the libya story is not one that wraps anybody in particular glory. fundamental issue that secretary clinton had to grasp with here, i'm not sure the panel every got their arms around the fact that the administration made a decision to participate in the
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air war to get gadhafi out but not to put anybody on the ground, and that created a situation of chaos that ultimately led to chris stevens' death and the death of three others. had we had people on the ground, it's not clear we would have done any different, and there probably would be hearings under way today about why the united states intervened on the ground in libya and the country still fell apart. >> people, as you know, david in that town and elsewhere, have expressed the frustration there wasn't an 800 number to call in instant air strike as if we had air assets over any potential hot spot. now, granted, it was the anniversary of 9/11, and granted, there were inflamed tensions around the region. but you can't put your chips on all of the potential bets in advance. >> no, you can't.
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i'm not sure in that's case an air strike would have saved anybody's life and might have cost some more. there was one critical flaw, when you talk to people in the pentagon, brian, they identified after this, which was that the rescue squads that would go in to get an ambassador, nearest one was basically on the continental united states, on as you say the anniversary of september 11th. there are now such squads, a whole lot closer, including some in europe. unclear they ever could have got tonight libya in time to save ambassador stevens. in fact, unlikely that they could. but it probably was a serious deficit on part of the pentagon and the state department that there wasn't a thought-out rescue squad scenario, either for libya or for egypt, which of course is where they thought the big protest would happen that day. >> exactly right. david sanger, "new york times." appreciate your time. thank you for being with us. >> as we bring in our next guest, who really -- whose name
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needs no introduction, we want to let people know this is not a guest appearing because we have drawn an inference or comparison to anything else, it just that when you see a hearing, especially long and involved hearing in washington, it makes you think back to other notable hearinged in the past and other witnesses we've seen. we bring in john dean, he has been listening with us. john, i guess the question is, how do you think the witness here is doing? how do you think the committee's doing? and how is the business of hearings changed these last couple of years? >> i think hillary is very familiar with this atmosphere. she's very comfortable. she's able to take charge of it. i remember if you recall, she had her first job with the house judiciary committee during the nixon impeachment. she was watching from a distance. as first lady, she testified. little awkward, didn't do well on health care. but then she served in the
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senate and really learned how these hearings are both theater and inquiries into information, and she knows exactly how to behave and respond. and i think we see it in her face, we see it in her responses. she knows when to look annoyed. she knows when to look bored. she knows when to be responsive, and she's made eloquent statements about a tragic situation that put her on the record in a way that her campaign has got to love at this point. a hearing that was once a threat has really become an opportunity for her. how have hearings changed? they are much more partisan, and we're seeing it, members on the democratic side are calling their republican colleagues for this being a political drive to hurt hillary clinton's presidential bid, and laying it out. that didn't used to happen in hearings. they were much more cooperative. they -- both sides worked together. in fact, i don't think, years
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ago, they would have ever been able to schedule a hearing like this where it is repeating an investigation that's been conducted over and over and over again, and turning up no new information. so i think this is really hillary's day. it's going to help her presidential campaign. and as somebody who has been both a witness and a committee counsel this is a good textbook example how to be a good witness. >> but, as you know, such a fraught, harrowing time, here we are a little over a year away from election day. >> there's no question, as this hearing goes on they'd like to break her down, see her make a mistake and that would become the event of the hearing. i don't think she's going to do. i think she's very much in control, so i think that's fairly low risk. this is eight hours. from my experience, one day
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eight hours isn't very much. i did five days, eight hours, and you get a little weary at the end of five days. i think she'll be fine after one day and so i don't think this is a threat to her campaign. in fact, as i say, i think it's going to be something that will be to her benefit and again, this will with joe biden out of the picture now, it's just going to bolster more her credentials to serve as president. >> john dean, thank you very much for watching and listening with us, for your patience and being with us. lawrence o'donnell, some of what you were saying earlier. >> yeah, he is our witness to that history of how hearings used to go. i agree with the point he said, as what we've seen so far, unless something dramatically different occurs, this is actually helpful to her presidential campaign. nothing -- she hasn't been touched by anything that's happened in this hearing. it's been looming on the political calendar for all of the political reporters, you know, this day's coming, it
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could be rough for hillary, it could be rough for hill rip it's not rough for hillary. campaigns when something is anticipate by the media to be a possible negative that turns out not to hurt the candidate, the candidate gets a lift from it. we saw the weirdest possible version of this with donald trump and john mccain. donald trump says this horrible thing about john mccain, we all think it's going to hurt him, we all say it's going to hurt him, it doesn't hurt him, and then he soars above that. and so she's way ahead of media expectations on what she could possibly have gotten out of this campaign -- hearing, sorry. >> yeah. put the cart before the horse. a quick break here. coverage will continue right after this. ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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we are back to explain what's going on, especially those who tried to check in and out what the hearing today, the house is in the middle of a vote, a floor vote. so all of the member of the select committee had to leave. you see chairs are vacant. we will have some notice when they come filing back in. chuck todd would normally be in the last 45 minutes before "meet the press" daily airs. chuck todd is, instead, in the position of not knowing if a congressional hearing is going to roll right over his pride and joy. chuck todd, nonetheless, i want your view of the lead story. >> this lineup is unbelievable. every single republican running for president's going to be on the show, every single democrat. no, i'm kidding. >> you don't have enough time.
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>> look, i think -- i just want to read you, and you and i used to do this a lot, you know, old wire reporter buddy, ron fournier, you worked with him an the white house, he's got a great line in instant reacts that i feel sums up the hearing. if you don't have a dog in fight, among the growing number of independent voters drifting away from the two parties you don't care about the hearing. and you know what you missed? shallow theater, naked partisanship and institutionalized incompetence. little rough, but i think he sort of put a rough summary of this, as well as anybody, because i've been -- i feel as if i thought -- i forget who said it, i think john dean -- this hearing has gotten more partisan as it's worn on. i noticed, during the first break, it felt like a halftime it felt like the republicans realized maybe their questions are too long-winded, not getting her to talk enough.
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and then they came out and decided, well, their goal should be to try to score political points, think about the last back and forth there between pet peter ross come and hillary clinton where i think what he's trying to do, essentially say, don't you own this libya policy, you were trying to so hard to brag about it when it looked good, and then you've been deflecting but he didn't get to that second part but essentially, she's been deflecting her ownership of the policy throughout hearing reminding people she's secretary of state, president obama, et cetera. but i think that's what it's felt like, it's gotten more partisan and that's not helping anybody other than hillary clinton more than anybody because she's not lost her cool yet. let's see, there could be another four -- i'm told another three or four hours of questioning that we may see left. we may not be -- this may not end in an hour or two. this could be another three, four hours.
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i'll be curious to see if we can continue to see its more partisan as it's been. i thought lawrence was correct in trying to single out tammy duckworth. i don't know why more democrats have haven't taken the same tactic as her. if you believe the republicans are being too partisan on the committee, conduct your own hearing. you know, don't spend your time trying to protect hillary clinton, conduct your own hearing on what this should be about. the policy it elf and the security of our diplomats. and it does seem as if that has drifted away a lot as political theater, i think this should be a reminder to anybody that plans on debating hillary clinton in the fall, if she is the republican -- the democratic nominee, you've got to ask yourself, what republican candidate running will have the stamina to stand up to her as prepared as she is, you know. we'll see. does donald trump? does ben carson? i could picture jeb bush, marco
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rubio, i don't know. that's what i'm trying to visualize, after watching her handle this moment, okay, who's the republican that can go toe to toe with her next fall? >> back to roscom and your point, what you said echoed something said in the room a guy celebrated as a courtroom lawyer and oral advocate. you should not have to wonder what his these this was to get that circular argument back why, he started with clinton doctrine what he's trying to establish. >> i think that's right. and the same thing about sidney blumenthal because, look, there's a lot of people that have -- a lot of people inside washington that have very, shall we say, colorful views of sidney blumenthal, particularly if you, whether reporter in the '90s around this town if you were an operative, all of those things. but i can tell you, i've got to think, if you're watching this hearing and wondering about,
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you're asking yourself, what does sidney blumenthal have to do with the benghazi attack? and -- i mean, again, i understand they're trying to create a character issue, right? here's somebody that david axelrod and robert gibbs thought was so flow character that they threw themselves in front of a freight train to prevent hillary clinton from allowing him to become an adviser at the state department i'm get the attempt, trying to sully her character with sidney blumenthal by saying, hey, boy, even team obama thought this guy, you wanted him nowhere near official government business. but it's like -- it's like a dog with a bone. they're so obsessed with the sidney blumenthal bone they took their eye off the ball. >> you're supposed to come on the air in a half hour. are you even, honest question, bothering to put together a broadcast or do you just assume -- >> we did. we really did. we've got a couple of members of
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the panel, the committee there, that if they're available, would come. >> observing, yes. >> but, no, we're preparing, because you know, you've got to be prepared. we're boy scouts at "meet the press daily" you know that. >> i know that. i'm in the office next door to you. probably check back in with you at this rate. because we have to say good-bye to him, he's on a west coast clock, we're not, chris matthews, one final question, from chuck todd. what does sidney blumenthal have to do with what happened in benghazi? >> i keep thinking, it's the usual suspects and he's kaiser -- who is this guy? he is what he is. he's a guy that goes around pushing stories on behalf of the people he's loyaled to, the clinton especially. that's what he is. that's as far as his danger goes to anybody. i do think they made a big, big mistake focusing away, it's a
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dogleg, use a golfing term, away from what they are trying to do to prove hillary clinton is derelict in her duties, her sins of -- they spent the morning -- i thought a well choreographed move -- to put the circles around, tighten it down to a bull's-eye, had her in the middle, 2012, after the two attacks and ready to close in and say, yeah, we're able to prove now that she was derelict of her duties they didn't go there, switched off to the spin and susan rice and going on all of the full shows and i thought, why did they jump from before to after without getting to heart of the question? does hillary clinton have a character flaw? is she the kind of person who would stand by let her friend die because she had something better to do or was she completely incompetent? i do think they were trying to get to character issue. i look at faces of those men especially on the republican side there, the desk there, and i look at a couple who don't like her, they really don't like her, and maybe that's not going
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to hurt her as much as it's going to hurt them. i don't think women of a certain age, older women, they're very tired of men with that kind of attitude towards them professionally and i think they're showing that attitude of contempt for her and it's not appropriate given the evidence they have or don't have right now. i think they got up to it, and they skipped over to the after effect. three tranches here, trey gowdy said three, middle is the key. how did she behave at 3:00 in the morning call that came at this time in 4:00 in the afternoon? looks like she handled it with human guts and fortitude and stick to ittiveness. when you look at tape, and it will be replayed, she sounds like a real human being trying to save somebody who worked for her over there in benghazi in a dangerous situation. i don't think it hurt her at all today. >> chris matthewed in san francisco listening post watching with us. thank you for this and all day. senator claire mccaskill,
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democrat of missouri, is with us. senator, who has often spoken out on behalf of her friend and former colleague, hillary clinton. senator, first of all, what of the public's business did the u.s. senate get accomplished today? >> we confirmed a nominee to -- in fact, an ambassador nominee, and we also finished up some work on cybersecurity. we're going to come back and do amendments first of the week weep actually got some business done this week. >> how much of the hearing did the senate business allow you to see? what did you make of it so far? >> i've seen a lot of it. i think the problem the republican party has is one they have made this political, they've done it all on their own. marco rubio is fund-raising off of this today, stand with trey gowdy, republican party has fundraised off of this including appearances by trey gowdy. they clearly have a narrative. and the facts don't match it, brian. the facts don't match the
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narrative. and i think it's become very clear today they don't. and besides that, there's nothing new. there is nothing new here. and i think that's frustrating to the american people that we would have had 32 congressional hearings and 8 investigations and 11 published reports, and now we're engaged in what appears to be just a bald attack on hillary clinton without anything new. >> do you -- can you see how chairman gowdy makes his point, that the reason the seven or eight prior investigations deserve more thorough looking at is because these e-mails are still in the pipeline, we're still learning and reading what is coming out? >> we also learned today, though, brian, most of her work was not done by e-mail. i think that's true, many of us in public policy. we hear and we meet and we work with staff and we don't do all of our work by e-mail.
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this notion that you're going to somehow hang around hillary clinton's neck a lack of involvement, a lack of character, a lack of caring about the people that worked with her on the front lined in a dangerous world, on what kind of e-mail she received from sidney blumenthal, frankly is ludicrous. >> claire mccaskill, democrat, state of missouri, thank you coming on with us as part of coverage of this hearing. gene we haven't heard from you in a while. you go back a fair piece in washington. >> well, thanks a lot, brian. >> i just mean that the name john dean would perhaps mean something to you, as it seemed to when you were nodding while he was talking. >> it was interesting because i do remember, i wasn't in washington quite yet, but i remember his appearance before the watergate committee. it was amazing. and so, he should know from hearings, that's for sure. i do go back far enough to have been a foreign correspondent for "the post" and this is why the clinton narrative, as she
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related the incident, was so powerful to me. i happened to be there in a motorcade with george schultz, when he was secretary of state, in la paz, bolivia, going from the airport to the city, and a bomb goes off, right next to the motorca motorcade. it fortunately his car was not damaged but the car his wife was riding in actually the windows were cracked and there was another car in the entourage that was really kind of messed up. we sped down to the embassy. it was a tense moment mo. figured out it seemed to be drug traffickers, unclear who set off the bomb. and what did he do next? an hour later he went about his regular schedule. you know, his scheduled activities in la poz and bolivian officials and whenever he was going to go. the point being that it is a dangerous world for u.s. diplomats and u.s. diplomacy. and i think people who know
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anything about that understand that you try -- everything you do to create perfect security and yet, a bomb can go off next to the motorcade of the secretary of state. it's impossible to do that. what i thought we would hear more of in terms of the line of questioning today is about the response in the moment, was there a chance for rescue, for, you know to bring planes and all of these sort of conspiracy theories what was and what was not possible and whether sort of you know was there an order to stand down or anything like that. i thought we would have heard more of that so far and maybe we'll hear it later in the five, six, seven, eight hours that are left in the hearing. >> steve kornacki, there was a point where i had trouble figuring out what was limiting her testimony and where the
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committee was trying to go. it concerned consulate or no consulate. this really, to reduce it down, was kind of a rented compound of buildings with a wall that the united states added to in height and razor wire and a gate and some facilities, we now know, they got used from great britain across the street in benghazi, the cia compound. and in some places, the united states tries to keep their footprint low. they learned a lot of lessons about driving up armored, shiny, brand-new suvs through baghdad and they learned a lot of lessons generally in the last decade about their footing. so, that was a little bit tough to discern. >> also that extended back and forth about the level of involvement, how direct was her involvement in security
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arrangements. >> right. >> she was making the argument, look my job as secretary of state you don't want a secretary of state who takes a personal, direct day-to-day interest in planning security for every embassy, every consulate around the world. >> she was saying you don't want me involved. >> you want security professionals doing than pompeo, correct me if i'm wrong, he ended by saying leaders lead, that was his response, saying i would take that to mean, you should have been directly involved. i thought that was an exchange where she certainly held her ground well. what chuck was saying resonated with me, too, hillary clinton in adversarial setting we forgot how good she is. in 2008 race for president, 25 democrat debates, we remember barack obama beat her for the nomination but she won 24 3/4 of the debates. only thing questioned her up question on driver licenses in philadelphia in october 2007. and that lesson is, she's really good in settings but when she stumbles, it's a big deal, we
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remember it, and it can have repercussions. that was the challenge if you look at this as a political thing that was the challenge for republicans coming in. 2013 she wasn't on her game, injured, had the concussion and what difference does it make line, in some ways haunted her. they did trip her up into one of those moments. but by and large -- i even think, john dean was saying health care testimony in '93 didn't go over well -- i was looking at in this week, health care itself was a debacle but her performance in '93, she's going to toe to toe with dick army about jack kevorkian, very funny. >> separate topic. perhaps we'll get to. another break. waiting for the thousand return from a vote and hearing to begin again. why do so many people choose aleve? it's the brand more doctors recommend for minor arthritis pain. plus, just two aleve can last all day. you'd need 6 tylenol arthritis to do that. aleve. all day strong.
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every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. we are back. waiting for the hearing to resume. a live look at hearing room. the problem is, there's a vote going on on the house floor. so members have vacated, everyone else has taken a break, as soon as we see some activity stirring in that room, we'll go back to it. if you were here for our interview with chuck todd, waiting to find out if chuck todd has a daily broadcast at 5:00 eastern, not likely, given what we know about the hearing today. you heard chuck talk about ron fournier, a veteran of the associated press, former wire service writer, and what a great
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skill set that can give you in life. kasie hunt knows something about that, toop kasie hunt of nbc news, formerly if i am correct, associated press and vested with all of those gifts of a deadline writer on deadline. what have you found out about especially the republicans, the committee has come in for quite a pummeling today, especially in this room. any traction that you're learning of. >> right i did used to work for the associated press. ron fournier was a great mentor of mine. nice to hear reporting of the air from chuck todd. i've been talking to republican campaign operate is to get a sense if they're running against hillary clinton next year, is this something that's given them anything to work with? reality is, i'm having trouble coming up with anyone willing to say this is a great day for republicans. this is potentially the event that could create -- it's a serious subject, four dead
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americans -- but from a politic political perspective could create political excitement to use against her. you saw some of that with comments about what difference does it make last time she testified on this subject that appeared right away in attack ads. this time, the best i've got people saying, well, she did fine, any day she's talking about her record as secretary of state is a bad day for her. that's a pretty generic comment, brian, from these folks who are used to using frankly a lot of hyperbole, strong rhetoric talking about the democrats. >> kasie, right now, as no one needs to tell you, there are a good number of republicans worried about, to use a crass phrase, brand confusion, because of the various candidates, the spectrum of candidates in the race, tab low before us at a gop debate, which is terrific for choice, and because of the gridlock right now, very publicly playing out, since boehner announced someone else
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can have the job as speaker of the house. >> that's right, brian. and you know, the other thing that's at play here in the presidential race is, the republican presidential candidates don't necessarily want to be tied closely to their party's congressional wing. congress in general is unpop lapper. republicans in congress are unpopular, part of the reason because of that gridlock and dysfunction that caused john boehner to throw up his hands and say i don't want this job anymore. it's that same dysfunction that caused paul ryan to say i'm only going to do it in the event everybody in the party agrees they're going to get together and support legislation that we want to push through. for a lot of the candidates, you know, they don't really want to be anywhere near this. they're happy to talk about hillary clinton's record on foreign policy and that's something i think that's going to be the center, i think we've seen it become the center, of the presidential race whether criticizing the president or criticizing hillary clinton. >> so, kasie, it comes down to your search for republicans that are trying to find something
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good coming out of what has transpired today. that may go on for a while. >> i wouldn't be surprised if, after listening to this, i get one or two e-mails that attempt to refute this idea and say she didn't do well. lie say to quote a democrat i've been e-mailing with, somebody on the capitol hill a long time and is in favor of a lot of the processes said she managed to look presidential testifying before congress and that is next to impossible. brian? >> yeah, the day, of course, could still be much longer. kasie hunt, thank you. these are the talking points we have heard from people. >> yeah. you know, when people are horrified at the motion of this kind of hearing becoming political, everything politicians do is political. the fbi is conducting a nonpolitical investigation of hillary clinton's e-mail. that's what a nonpolitical investigation looks like. it's done in secret, done by professionals. this is done by politicians.
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and really, what you saw today was a room of politicians arguing with a politician. that's called a debate. we knew, before this morning, who the best debater in that room was and she has been the best debater with these people all the way through and she hasn't needed any help from the democratic members of committee. tammy duckworth has made the right choice to stay on an informational hearing as opposed to some protective thing for hillary clinton. hillary clinton versus the republicans on this committee is a fight that she has won every minute of so far. >> and the stakes were different, the times were different, and we can no longer ask john dean, you made a point in the break, about what you -- your -- if memory serves how long his opening statement was. >> john dean's opening statement as a witness to the watergate committee was seven hours long. he read a carefully written over 200-typed pages of statement. but he was reading it to a
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bipartisan committee. it's, of course, a political group get together, a senate committee, congressional committee, but they tried -- what they knew was, our obligation is to not look political. what do we have to do to get the air of politics out of this room? what do we have to do? and they did everything right. they had special counsel ask questions instead of elected officials. everyone asking a question today is running for re-election, every one of them. people running for re-election try to use every word they speak to help their re-election. that's why you have special counsel ask the question. lawyers who are not running for any office at all. >> two senators come to mind. talking about sam irvin. >> yes. >> kind of -- who defied party label, if you just tuned in, you'd have a hard time guessing what he was, the same thing that
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does not exist. >> it was completely cooperative. one of the problems on this committee -- and it's a mistake that leadership makes sometimes when they assign members to investigate a committee -- too many trial lawyers. it plains -- no, here's why it explains -- >> the question now. >> why it explains the sidney blumenthal problem. when in a courtroom dealing with reasonable doubt, that's all you need to create reasonable doubt. you're a defense lawyer, you just need one juror to latch on to one thing. so if the big question that you spend nine hours on wearing a white or blue shirt and he says he was wearing a blue shirt and you think you can prove he was wearing a white shirt though he wasn't at the crime and it not relevant to the crime, what you've done is introduced in the mind of one juror doubt about one irrelevant thing that this witness has just said, and in the courtroom you get to say, if
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you can't believe him about that, you can't believe him about anything. that's not the way this room works. sidney blumenthal cannot be made relevant in this room no matter how hard they work. but what you're seeing is trial lawyers, trey gowdy, getting fixated on one of the tiny things that can work in a courtroom to win you one juror and it doesn't work in this room. >> eugene, though, the question is, are minds changed because we talk about the business of high negatives. she has had high negative. >> she has had high negatives. people were -- wanted to know more about benghazi and about her role in it. so have minds been changed to this point? i doubt it, to tell you the truth. but fortunately or not, it's early days. there's a lot more hearing to come. and so i don't rule out the possibility that some minds will eventually be changed by some avenue of questioning them i get
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to. they haven't done it yet, i would say, because she has had answers, a lot of the ground has already been plowed and, as lawrence said, there's been a deviation on to what our -- to any normal person's side issues. >> in a good congressional hearing you don't sit here and say, and chuck todd doesn't sit here and say, why were they talking about that? there's not a moment in a good congressional hearing when wondering why they're talking about that. >> most interesting thing in the new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll, asked about do you think the benghazi committee is political or legitimate investigation, they think it's political, majority say that. do you think hillary clinton was using a prichvate e-mail servero hide something or convenience. majority say matter of convenience. tired of hearing about e-mail story? 60% tired hearing about the e-mail. all of these great results for hillary clinton. you ask the question, do you think she's telling truth about the e-mails?
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majority say no. >> right. >> two different things existing in the minds of people simultaneously. i'm curious if her performance, well-received performance in the debate last week, if it starts to move the numbers. percentage of people unfavorable personal view and believes she's dishonest, that number is stubborn. >> the e-mails, justification for this further investigation -- because that's committee's claim to new information -- new information matter in any investigation. you say, look, we've got thousand of pages of e-mails we didn't have in the investigation before, that's a legitimate reason to keep looking. however, what have they used those e-mails for today? to talk about sidney blumenthal and leave the country wondering, what are they talking about? >> and what friends send to the secretary of state. >> exactly. i mean, any individual gets e-mails from a friend that are unsolicited, to use the word they used to, and sometimes off the wall, and sometimes to be
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polite you pass them on. >> does that tell us -- does that mean they've looked at these e-mails and they really have nothing? that is what they're proving today, that the e-mails have revealed absolutely nothing interesting to this investigation? >> this is interesting. the house, again, those of you just joining us, voting on hr 1937, the national strategic and critical minerals production act. we are waiting for that vote to conclude. we'll will then see the secretary of state back former secretary of state back in the hearing room. coverage will resume after this n quickly become the only thing you think about. that's where at&t can help. at at&t we monitor our network traffic so we can see things others can't. mitigating risks across your business. leaving you free to focus on what matters most.
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we are back, but the select committee on benghazi is not. these are pictures from earlier on capitol hill. now we're going to show you a live picture of the hearing room. the house, i've been assured, is no longer voting on hr 1937, the mineral act. they are now on procedural votes. the nation can breathe collective sigh of relief that their house is busy. but you see those pictures there, that the committee room is still idle. jeremy peters with us, congressional correspondent for the new york time. thank you for hanging out with us for a bit. we know, like all journalists up there, you're on deadline. the question is, did trey gowdy, did the republican side, the controlling side, of this select committee prove their thesis that there was enough to get out of this witness today to justify
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this eighth or ninth investigation into the four deaths at benghazi? >> well, who was it, brian, who famously said the biggest gaffe in washington that one can commit is to tell the truth? i think that's the way that a lot of people look at kevin mccarthy's statements, that this committee has hurt hillary's political standing. and i think that there is one aspect here that, of this hearing, of this entire investigation, that can remind you of a struggle the republican party has always had when it it comes to attacking its democratic opponents and they fail to realize often that the american public does not share such a deep antipathy toward the people they are attacking, whether or not that is president obama, in this case, hillary clinton, before that, her husband, during the impeachment proceedings. and that's where you saw -- where this really kind of came out was in this sidney
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blumenthal line of questioning. you know, most americans don't have any idea who sidney blumenthal is but yet the committee spent a really, really long time get into his e-mails and what he may or may not have offered in terms of advice to hillary clinton, and i think that's where you have to stop and ask the question, like, all right, so will this hearing, in in any way, change anyone's mind? any voter who will come away from this thinking, all right, hillary really indicted herself there. and i think right now the answer to that question is no. but i would also say that i think it's probably -- the result of this hearing will be that people on both sides of this are just dug in further. >> lawrence o'donnell, here with us, grew up on the hill, said in the old days, in his opinion, speaker's office, upon seeing how this hearing is going, would call after the break and say, let's wrap it up. when someone from the state of massachusetts old days speakership of thomas p. tip
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o'neill jr. as you make your rounds, are you hearing this thing has gone measurably south? >> what i'm hearing is a certain, i guess, admiration for the way that hillary has conducted herself. i think, you know, on both -- i've talked to republicans about this today, i've talked to democrats about this today, and what you hear is, you know, wow, she's a force to be reckoned with and she's not letting them get under her skin. and i mean, granted, i think she did have a home-field advantage. witnesses usually prevail in scenarios like this. and i -- like i said before, i think both sides will come out of this being even more dug in. but it's really hard to say that they have damaged hillary much out of this. >> and jeremy, as chris matthews keeps saying, today's goal if you're in the clinton camp, was to change the soundbyte, last time recovering from a
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concussion, wearing those corrective eyeglasses, having been running all out as secretary of state, she gave the committee that "what difference does it make?" sow lil low question, today effort to change the sound, the mood. do you think she has succeeded? >> i think that, by opening the way she did, where she said, you know, we need to remember the four americans' lives who were lost here, that is the most effective thing that she can do is to let the focus from her perspective be on the lives that were lost and to honor them and not let this veer into politics, which i think you have seen the republicans do. right off the bat, you had this nasty exchange with one of the republican questioners, he scolding hillary for reading, glancing at her talking point.
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that kind of set the tone i think. even though chairman gowdy says, this is not a prosecution, i mean, gowdy's a prosecutor and his tone today, i think, was very accuser to and it's hard to come away from this thinking, no, this isn't a prosecution. >> jeremy peters, who covers congress, among other thingser, thank you very much for your time and waiting around with us. lawrence o'donnell, did i quote you correctly? >> you did. when we think about how much real estate sidney blumenthal's occupied in this hearing, for what we find to be mysterious readings it contained a reference to deputy assistant secretary in charge of security who denied, made the decision, to deny additional security to chris stevens. that was raised by congress -- >> it was in there. >> the name was mentioned twice, only twice. it occupied a minute and a half or less of the entire hearing.
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you would think, if that character is in this story, then that is the next name that the republicans would fixate on all day long. >> didn't happen. lawrence, gene, steve, thank you all. cooler heads have prevailed. chuck todd's going to get on the air tonight for today's version, the hearing version, of "meet the press daily" now we go to chuck in washington. >> thank you, brian. as you see, more people are starting, more member of congress, starting to make their way into the committee room. it's been a marathon day of testimony. this is, of course, former secretary of state hillary clinton fating an unprecedented moment as a presidential candidate. the hearing started at 10:00 eastern this morning. we've had a few breaks along the way. we're waiting for this most recent break to end right now, as members finish up voting on the floor and make their way back into the hearing room. let's do a bit of a reset here. want to go to capitol hill.
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go to kelly o'donnell. kelly, is there any chance you heard lawrence talking about the idea that maybe house republican leaders thinking, uh-oh, is this not going as well as we thought it would go? any chance leadership is pulling trey gowdy aside, giving him advice how to finish this hearing? >> well, then you'd have to say, who is in leadership right now? john boehner is almost out the door, and presented a congressional gold medal to the monuments men from world war ii. kevin mccarthy, i would imagine, would stay clear of this issue, given his sort of remarks. waiting to find out if paul ryan will be the next speaker who would drop that dime on trey gowdy to say wrap it up? i'm not sure that's going to happen. i do think, in this break, if they're conferring amongst themselves, i wonder if there's a strategic change, any sense of needing to movet


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