WASHINGTON — The bickering has flared once more between Hillary Rodham Clinton’s team and the Republican-led House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, this time over negotiations for the former secretary of state’s possible testimony.
A spokesman for the Democrat’s presidential campaign, Nick Merrill, said Saturday she would testify in a public session Oct. 22 before lawmakers examining the deaths of four Americans in the 2012 attacks in Libya. Not so fast, the committee said.
Committee spokesman Jamal Ware said in an interview that the committee and Clinton’s lawyer were “still in negotiation” and nothing has been finalized, including the date of an appearance and the terms under which she would testify.
Any Clinton testimony is likely to reverberate through the 2016 race. The committee is investigating the deaths of U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in the attack on the diplomatic facility in Libya. At the time, Clinton was the country’s top diplomat.
In recent months, the inquiry has devolved into a political fight over Clinton’s emails and private computer server. Republicans have seized upon revelations that Clinton chose to use a private email server, instead of a government one, and later deleted thousands of emails she said were not related to her work.
On Friday, government investigators disclosed that they had recently alerted the Justice Department to the potential compromise of classified information from Clinton’s server.
The inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community sent a memo to members of Congress saying that “potentially hundreds of classified emails” were among those that Clinton had provided to the State Department.
Clinton last testified at two congressional hearings in January 2013, when she denied that the Obama administration tried to mislead the country about the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks. She took responsibility for the department’s missteps and said it was attempting to strengthen security at diplomatic posts worldwide.