Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, wasted no time tearing into Hillary Clinton during her testimony before the panel Thursday morning:
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) began the hearing with the former secretary of State on a stern note, mentioning Clinton’s controversial use of a private email server and pledging to bring justice to the four Americans killed in the Libyan city on Sept. 11, 2012.
Despite claims that the committee is merely a partisan witch-hunt, “let me assure you it is not,” the panel chairman said.
“This investigation is about four people who were killed representing our country on foreign soil. It is about what happened before, during and after the attacks that killed them. It is about what this country owes to those who risk their lives to serve and it is about the fundamental obligation of government to tell the truth, always, to the people that it purports to represent.”
Gowdy was quick to bring up Clinton’s “unusual email arrangement,” which he alleged prevented the panel from obtaining her emails for months.
“Not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your email,” he told Clinton. “We signed up to investigate and, therefore, honor the lives of the four people we sent into a dangerous country to represent us.”
However, while ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings used the majority of his opening statement to accuse the GOP of a political witch-hunt, Clinton herself steered surprisingly clear of partisan attacks:
“We should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those we disagree with,” Clinton said. “So I’m here.”
The former secretary steered clear of more aggressive rhetoric about the committee’s purpose — a noted change of tone from her political appearances, where she has called the panel “basically an arm of the Republican National Committee.”
“Despite all the previous investigations and all the talk about partisan agendas, I’m here to honor those we lost and to do what I can to aide those who serve us still.”
“My challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge I put to myself: Let’s be worthy of the truth the American people bestow upon us.”
Coming from Clinton, that’s a truly laughable statement.