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Special Report

All-Star Panel: Reaction to alleged hiding of Benghazi docs

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 15, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Hello, Iowa. I'm back!

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: It's really great to be back. Let's not let another seven years go by.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: I would like to see her back in Washington testifying about her role in the Benghazi tragedy. There are still a lot of questions.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, HOST: Hillary Clinton in Iowa. If you look at the latest average of polls of Iowa Democrats, there is no doubt she is the frontrunner. And you can see by how much there. But as you just heard, Senator Paul referenced, there is a story that popped here by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson that has to do with new details of requests for documents in the Accountability Review Board. That's the ARB, the study about the Benghazi attacks. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: There was an operation there in the basement of the Department of State to make sure that they never did see all those documents. They were essentially creating two piles -- things that the Accountability Review Board would see and that Congress would see, and anything that shed, quote, "bad light" on Hillary Clinton and her senior management that they were put over in a different pile and that they were to never be seen.

And the people that were in that room directing traffic were none other than Hillary Clinton's chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan her deputy chief of staff.

MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The ARB had full and direct access to State Department employee and documents. Any account to the contrary like that one you mentioned are completely without merit, completely ill-informed.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BAIER: This is all based on some testimony and reporting of Raymond Maxwell. He has had a 21 year record at the State Department. We're back with the panel. Steve, what about this story? And there you see a picture of Maxwell.

STEPHEN HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think this development, like the firsthand accounts that from the interviews that you conducted last week in connection with the book "13 Hours," were we not in such a polarized media environment, would be huge stories. These would be blockbuster stories that would have everybody scrambling to make call to everybody who might have been in this room in the State Department to ask follow-up questions. People would be clamoring to do interviews with the only people who have provided on the record, firsthand accounts of what happened in Benghazi.

And yet, basically, it's been met with a deafening silence. The media are not interested this. This is a nonstory to most people in the mainstream media. And I think if the story as presented by Raymond Maxwell is true, a relatively senior diplomatic official who was an Obama supporter and says that he saw with his own eyes Cheryl Mills, Hillary's chief of staff, and Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff, sorting through these documents.

BAIER: To turn over to Admiral Mullen and Tom Pickering of the ARB.

HAYES: If that actually happened, that's a huge story. That is the cover-up. That would be the beginning of a cover-up.

And, look, we know that the ARB was compromised because of the things that the ARB leaders have admitted. Admiral Mullen said that he not only called Cheryl Mills to warn about Charlene Lamb as a potentially devastating witness if she were to testify in front of Congress. He also provided a draft copy of the ARB to Hillary Clinton's chief of staff before it was made public. I mean, that's a huge conflict of interest.

So we know the ARB is compromised. For any journalist with a modicum of curiosity, these are great stories.

BAIER: Mara?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: This has everything to do with the midterm elections, because when you hear Rand Paul say I wish Hillary Clinton were back in Washington telling us. If the Republicans take the Senate they will have the power of the subpoena, and it's a much bigger deal when the Senate does it than when the House does it, and there will be hearings on this. And she will be spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill talking about this.

In the end I don't know how big a problem it's going to be for her, but the Republican control of the Senate will give Benghazi a big new lease on life.

BAIER: And you think that her performance this weekend was --

LIASSON: I think that Hillary wasn't very loose or comfortable, but she acquitted herself fine. I mean, she made a few jokes about being back and let's not wait seven years. She needs to win the Iowa Caucus even though she's, as you showed in that poll, there is no challengers to her. But she came in third last time. She's needs to really win this time. So she needs to spend a lot of time there, make some friends.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: In that performance there are two things I already knew. She is running, which is obvious. There was never, I thought, any question about it. And second, she still lacks of charm of her husband. I mean, it's not even close.

But, I think she is going to have some trouble, because even if the Republicans don't get the Senate -- they probably will, but even if they don't -- Gowdy's hearings, which will be able to bring people in under oath ---

BAIER: They start this week by the way.

KRAUTHAMMER: He's going to start slowly. He is in no rush, there is no reason to rush. The media aren't curious. Nobody is asking why isn't it going quicker? It's a sleeper story. But once you get people under oath you will get stuff coming. And if this happened, as Maxwell is saying, then this is really serious. This is a cover-up.

Imagine that somebody had stumbled in on the Nixon administration in a warehouse or in a basement in State Department sorting documents. I mean that would have been on The Post front page for seven days in a row. But if it comes out in testimony as opposed to in any news report, it will be very significant.

BAIER: There were other people in that room.

HAYES: Yes. Maxwell said for part of the time he was accompanied by an intern. If what he says turns out to be true, I think it's a really big deal.

BAIER: We will follow it. That's it for the panel.

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