Both the GOP and Democrats maneuvered for position ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's long-awaited appearance Thursday before the Benghazi panel, where she is expected to be closely quizzed about her actions during the 2012 assault in Libya that left four Americans dead.
While fireworks could erupt, Clinton will certainly try to avoid showing her frustration, as she did before a Senate panel in 2013, saying, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" referring to the motivation of the Benghazi attackers who killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy and the six other Republicans on the panel were expected to be equally measured, considering the partisan onslaught that followed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggestion last month that their investigation had hurt Clinton’s poll numbers.
Additional comments by New York Republican Rep. Richard Henna and a GOP investigator on the committee suggesting an over-focus on Clinton has resulted in her team continuing to say the panel is a partisan tool with “zero credibility.”
Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and former prosecutor, insists the panel has always been about getting all of the facts related to the four deaths, which includes Clinton’s actions “before, during and after” the assault.
Among the likely questions are whether she properly addressed Stevens’ email request for increased security.
House Speaker John Boehner, who formed the committee in May 2014, on Tuesday defended the probe, amid accusations that it is a taxpayer waste lasting longer than the congressional Watergate investigation.
“Today, the State Department turned over 1,300 pages of printed documents from Ambassador Stevens' emails.” he told Fox News. “Today. They've been stonewalling us now for three years on giving us the documents that we need.”
He also argued Clinton was the country’s top diplomat during the attack and that the committee was set up to “get to the truth about what happened.”
Boehner, Gowdy and other House Republicans also point out that the committee discovered this spring that Clinton, as secretary of state, used a private server and email accounts for official business. They also say that repeated questions about the controversial setup are related to the attacks, not to create headlines.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.