Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Committee Hearing: By The Numbers
This is Clinton's first time testifying on the topic as a presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton took the hot seat on Thursday to testify in front of a Congressional committee about the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, which gave her Republican detractors a chance to grill her on the increasingly bipartisan issue but also gave her the opportunity to call for a “reach for statesmanship” in the hearings.
Clinton was secretary of state on September 11, 2012, when U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed in a terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi. In the three years since their deaths, Congress has spent nearly $5 million investigating whether Clinton had any role in covering up the deaths.
The House Benghazi Committee discovered earlier this year that Clinton had been using a non-State Department email address for all official business, a reveal that has become a focal point in Clinton’s presidential bid. But one former staffer told CNN on Oct. 11th that the Benghazi Committee had shifted its focus toward her emails, not the terrorist attack.
Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, once considered the frontrunner to become the next Speaker of the House, told Fox News in September that “everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?” His comments have led Clinton and her fellow Democrats to insist that the investigation is a partisan attack on her during her presidential bid.
Here are some key numbers and facts you need to know about Thursday’s hearing:
Up to 10 hours of questioning
This committee could spend up to 10 hours questioning Clinton on everything ostensibly related to the Benghazi attack, including her private email server and her emails with outside advisor (and frequent Republican target) Sidney Blumenthal, who Republicans say provided Clinton with “most of her intelligence” on Benghazi. And Hillary, who will be facing increased scrutiny as a presidential candidate, will have to remain calm, collected and knowledgeable through it all.
40 experts on hand
Clinton is not walking into the Capitol Hill hearing room empty-handed: She has dedicated most of her free time since last week’s first Democratic debate pouring over details of the attack, and already armed herself with a team of 40 foreign policy experts to offer her advice and feedback during her campaign. All of this means she will likely to well braced to fend off the committee’s expected questioning about her wider dealings with international affairs.
17 months of investigation
It’s 532 days, or 17-and-a-half months, since the committee began in May 2014. That’s longer than congressional committees took to investigate Watergate (17 months), John F. Kennedy’s assassination (10 months) or Pearl Harbor (9.5 months).
8 congressional committees
The committee is conducting the eighth congressional investigation into the attack. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner previously directed five Republican-led House committees to investigate different aspects of the attack, and two bipartisan Senate committees also investigated the incident. Each investigation found Clinton and her department did not adequately address security concerns in Libya or could have done more to prevent the attack.
33 committee hearings
Thursday is Hillary’s first time appearing before the committee as a presidential candidate, which leaves her open to larger scrutiny. It’s her second time testifying on the matter (the first time was in January 2013, shortly before she stepped down as secretary of state) and the 33rd hearing conducted by the eight congressional committees.
Almost $5 million spent
The Benghazi committee has spent more than $4.8 million investigating the 2012 attack, according to a ticker created by the committee’s five Democratic minority members. That does not include the tax dollars spent on the previous seven committees, which Hillary’s Super PAC For The Record pegged as totaling $20 million on Thursday.