Lawmakers prepare to grill Clinton, as testimony scheduled on Benghazi attack

Catherine Herridge reports from Capitol Hill


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, under pressure from Republican lawmakers to testify "as soon as possible" about the Libya terror attack, is scheduled to appear Dec. 20 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The committee announced Wednesday that the hearing would be held at 1 p.m., and sources tell Fox News it will be an open session. A similar session with the corresponding Senate committee is in the works.

Several lawmakers wrote last week to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry raising concern that months have passed since the deadly consulate attack without Clinton testifying.

Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., announced Friday that Clinton has agreed to testify before the end of the current session, noting that the State Department's internal review is nearly complete.

The news Wednesday that a House hearing has been scheduled suggested that the State Department's internal report on the attack could be released in a matter of days.

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The lawmakers who wrote to Kerry made clear that they want her testimony to be public and they don't want it held up much longer. 

"Nearly three months have passed since the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, yet we still have far more questions than answers about conditions in Benghazi prior to the attacks, the situation on the ground that night, and the administration's handling of its response to the attacks," they wrote.

"We recognize that the State Department's Accountability Review Board investigation is a useful tool, but it is no substitute for our own investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attacks." 

The lawmakers included Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Jim DeMint, R-S.C. They called for hearings to be scheduled this month. 

Tuesday marked three months since the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Those three months have been punctuated by conflicting accounts about what warnings the administration may have been given in the run-up to the attack. Further, lawmakers continue to quarrel about U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice's initial claim that the attack was effectively a protest spun out of control. 

The administration has since walked back that claim, but questions remain about the true nature of the attack and why Rice initially used that characterization.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.