OTR Interviews

Trey Gowdy: Not sure Clinton hearing was all constructive

Uncut: Benghazi House Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy goes 'On the Record' to look back on Hillary Clinton's testimony, how he wants to show the public the seriousness of the investigation and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 23, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton grilled on the Hill for nearly 11 hours yesterday in front of the House Benghazi Select Committee.


TREY GOWDY, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BENGHAZI SELECT COMMITTEE: Welcome, madam secretary. Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Dougherty and Tyrone Woods served this country with courage and with honor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you order Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to stand down on the night of the attack?

CLINTON: Of course not, congressman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say to your family, two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group. You tell the American people one thing. You tell your family an entirely different story.

CLINTON: I clearly said that it was an attack. Several of you have raised the video and have dismissed the importance of the video. And I think that is unfortunate.


VAN SUSTEREN: House Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy joins us.

Good evening, sir.

GOWDY: Good evening, how are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. So after this investigation, I know it's still ongoing, have you determined who it was who made decisions on whether or not there would be increased security at the Benghazi consulate from those multiple requests?

GOWDY: Well, we heard for several hours yesterday that it wasn't her. She was very clear about that, that she takes responsibility, but apparently not for the request for more security.

We know the ARB went out to a certain level. We continue to believe, but we're going to have to develop the facts that there was an intermediary level of scrutiny or leadership that escape consequence. I'm not going to give you a name because it wouldn't be fair to that person, but I can tell you that if her position is despite what the previous ARB said about taking personal responsibility and personally review it, if her position is that she didn't do it, then we need to find at what level that decision was made so we can make sure it never happens again.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I mean, I assume that is -- is it one person who got multiple requests and has that person been interviewed by you yet? And if so, will that transcript be released?

GOWDY: That person has not been interviewed by us yet because -- and you heard his name yesterday. In fact, you heard Susan Brooks say we have some of the emails, but not all of the emails. In fact, we don't have most of the emails.

What's interesting, also, Greta, is this person was actually part of the ARB selection process. So this person helped pick the members of the ARB, who magically did not include him and the list of people to be disciplined because of the security failure. So --

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so we should know that person, shouldn't we? I mean, that should be out in the open. If we are going to fully investigate them, we need to know who is the one who got the request and either ignore them or said no?

GOWDY: And you will know. I promise. You will -- you will know when it ends exactly who that is.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Yesterday, there were lots of requests for the transcript from the testimony of Sidney Blumenthal. There was a vote by that saying that we can't have it. Why can't that testimony be released in its full in terms of transparency?

GOWDY: You know, Greta, I probably have been ruined by what I did in the previous life. I just don't think you ought to look at 1/54th of anything. And if you have done 54 interviews and the only ones they are clamoring to release are two folks who were the closest friends of the former secretary of state, why not the D.S. agents? Why not the contractors on the ground?


VAN SUSTEREN: Why not those? Why not those?

GOWDY: Well, to that point -- to that point, I went downstairs this morning and I told my folks, send all the transcripts to be cleared. And when I say be cleared, I'm not going to have any identifying information that's going to jeopardize anyone. Send them all to be cleared. If we're going to release one, we are going to release them all, because I want folks to see that this is a serious investigation into all aspects of Benghazi. And the best way to get that point is to look at all the transcripts, not one of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I didn't understand was towards the tail end of the 11 hours. Is that the secretary said something about looking big picture that that video, that anti-Muslim video still had some role. Maybe I'm getting this wrong, but I mean, what -- did you get the sense that she thinks the video was still part of this. Or, you know, at what point -- I know that she sent that letter off to Chelsea, that email to Chelsea that night, but where do we stand on this video?

GOWDY: Frankly, Greta, I think it depends upon the audience. If it's a public audience, there is one explanation. If there is a private audience, I'm not going to discuss her email with her family. How about what she told another foreign leader. She told the foreign leader that it had nothing to do with the video. So there is this dichotomy between what we tell the American people versus what we tell folks in private.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was there anything to suggest that they kept pushing the video thing because -- and that there's an email that said we got to keep pushing this because we have an election, or something, even remotely like that?

GOWDY: Well, how about the Ben Rhodes memo? How about the memo that started this select committee? Which is that it was related to the video and not a broader failure of the policy. I don't know what gets any more clearer than that, that you are instructing people to focus on something that is not true, so they will not focus on your broader policy in the region.

I don't know what piece of evidence you will ever get that's more compelling than that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I don't have it off the top of my head. Do you remember the date about of that memo from Ben Rhodes? I can look it up, but --


GOWDY: I'm stepping -- I don't want to give you the wrong -- it was some time in September, because that was what was used to kind of help the administration folks that we're going to be talking about it.

If you listen to the people who were in Libya and Benghazi, they were saying not, not a protest. And if you listen to Secretary Clinton's private conversations, she wasn't talking about a protest or a video. It was only in public when it came time to talk to the American people that we heard this spun up story about a video.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was she fully cooperative yesterday? Are you satisfied with how she answered the questions? I mean, I don't know -- she may have problems with her memory or whatever, but would you describe her as a cooperative witness?

GOWDY: Well, she is a good witness. And that this is not the first time she has appeared before a congressional committee. When I say cooperative, I think you will note, Greta, I didn't cut her off yesterday. I let her answer the questions fully. I thought some of our questions were different, but frankly, I thought there was a certain familiarity to her answers. She's a -- she's had three years.


VAN SUSTEREN: But was she being cagey -- was she being cagey and dodgy or was she being straight.

GOWDY: You know, I will have to let others judge that. I think on some responses, there was a certain level of candidness and on some responses, for instance, what are you taking responsibility for, I frankly still can't tell you what she is taking responsibility for because the three things we think she ought to take responsibility for, she's kind of pushed that off on other people.

So I'm going to let other people decide whether she was candid or not. She was certainly not cut off and she was certainly given every opportunity to answer the questions. I thought the questions were new, but I thought the answers were a little old.