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Analysis of House Benghazi Committee Hearing. Aired 10-11:00p ET
Aired October 22, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Anderson, thank you so much. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Brooke Baldwin sitting in for my friend, Don Lemon.
The House Benghazi Committee hearing that started at 10 o'clock this morning finally wrapping up at 9 o'clock Eastern in Washington, D.C., 11 hours of questions and answers.
And if you were expecting fireworks from Hillary Clinton's appearance, you were probably not disappointed. We have a lot to go through from all of these hours.
Dana Bash joins me along with CNN's Elise Labott, and Gloria Borger. Dana, to you first, she's our chief political correspondent, you have been talking to all these lawmakers as they are dashing out of this hearing, what are they telling to tonight?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the republicans who all sit on the committee came out and did a press conference talking about their experience in the, as you said, 11 hours that they took in questioning.
And the chairman, Trey Gowdy, I think the obvious to him was what new did he learned? His answer was a bit surprising. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREY GOWDY, SOUTH CAROLINA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think that some of Jimmy Jordan's questioning, well, when you say new today, I mean, we knew some of that already, we knew about the e-mails. In terms of her testimony, I don't that she testified that much there from here today that she has the previous times she's testified. So, I'd be happy to go and look at the transcript.
BASH: Why send nine hours to panel if you don't think she didn't produce anything that you haven't heard before?
GOWDY: Well, I've got to go back and look at the other transcript to see whether or not she said anything different or not. I just say it is, you have to talk to the Secretary of State and you have to talk to her after you gain access to her documents. So, really the better question, Dana, with all due respect is how the
previous committees were able to write their reports without access to what we have access to. That to me, is a better question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And that is the fundamental argument that you're hearing republicans continue to make, which is that this is a committee that is determined to get to the truth about what happened in the days leading up to the Benghazi attack that day, and then of course, afterwards, and that you can't do that without talking to the chief diplomat, of course at the time was Hillary Clinton.
Other republicans said that they did learn some new things, for example, one of the female republicans Susan Brooks had some interesting exchanges with Hillary Clinton, including the fact that she got out of Hillary Clinton that she didn't recall having conversations with Chris Stevens, the ambassador after he left for Libya, which was something that was I think a bit surprising to people on both sides of the aisle.
But, Brooke, as you can imagine, the democrats are coming out of here saying, you know what, this is exactly what we thought. It was a political witch-hunt and that was the whole point of this, and they said that they didn't learn anything new either, so maybe that this whole thing should be wrapped up. Brooke?
BALDWIN: As it did 11 hours later. Dana, thank you so much. And, Gloria, to you first here on a bigger picture issue, I mean, listen, you've been in Washington a long time, when do you ever see a bunch of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle sitting in a room focused so intently on one issue for so long?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Hardly ever. Maybe Supreme Court confirmations, and maybe 9/11 hearings, maybe the Iran contra hearings, you know, hardly ever.
And what we saw today was kind of sad to me to tell you the truth, because it was such an obviously partisan hearing in every way. The democrats did nothing but support Hillary Clinton. There are illegitimate questions that democrats have raised about Libya policy, about security.
They didn't raise it today. They were there to support her and defend her, and republicans, I think missed the opportunities to kind of hone in on some details, and instead, decided to kind of make political points with her, were you caring enough, right? Did you, how long did it take you to talk to the families? When did you go home at night, you know, after the attack? And I think that, you know, it doesn't serve the Congress well at all.
BALDWIN: Well, especially when, because of some of the questioning, you know, there was a little bit of infighting and talking amongst some of the members of the committee as well.
BORGER: And Hillary Clinton just sat there while they were fighting each other and did this like.
BALDWIN: I know.
BORGER: Look, which is could someone, please turn the channel?
BALDWIN: Imagine all the photos of the Hillary faces on the covers of papers tomorrow.
BALDWIN: I do want to play this exchange in Colbert's, he is joining us. Thank you so much, sir. Fresh off of Anderson's show, this happened about 10 hours into the day. This an exchange with Congressman Elijah Cummings and Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:05:04] ELIJAH CUMMINGS, BENGHAZI SELECT COMMITTEE MEMBER: So, I don't know what we want from you. Do we want to badger you over and over again until you get tired until we get the gotcha moment that he's talking about?
We are better than that. We are so much better. We are a better country, and we are better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign. That is not what America is all about. So, you can comment if you'd like, I just had to get that off of my chest.
CUMMINGS: Madam Secretary.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Congressman. I came here because I said I would. And I've done everything I know to do as had the people with whom I worked to try to answer your questions. I cannot do any more than that.
The answers have changed not at all since I appeared two years ago before the House and the Senate. And I recognize that there are many currents at work in this committee, but I can only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship.
At some point we have to do this. It is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi could ever be used for partisan political purposes. And I'm hoping that we can move forward together. We can start working together. We can start listening to each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Carl, how did you she do?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she did great, because she was up against a group of demagogue, and you have to go back to Joe McCarthy to see this kind of demagoguery in a Congressional hearing. And what they did was to give her a platform to show what kind of President of the United States she would be.
She has never had that platform or opportunity before, and she did it, and she was competent, she had the facts at her command, she was nuanced and she didn't give an inch. She knew what she was doing, she was the iatrical. It was a complete Hillary Clinton, such as we've never seen before.
Now, we still have the question of her trustworthiness whether she tells the whole truth which is the one big thing...
BERNSTEIN: ... that stands in front of her in this election. But we got to look at what Madam President Hillary Clinton would look like tonight and it was pretty impressive, and these guys and women of the republican side teed it up for her.
BALDWIN: Jim Sciutto, let me go to you, CNN national security correspondent is with us now. You know, listen, and Gloria mentioned this a moment ago, a lot of partisan, you know, wrangling, and spinning, and infighting in the midst of this thing, but what did we learn?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, you heard Chair Trey Gowdy say, he didn't learn anything really consequential. I mean, what are the key issues here? One of the key issues is the talking points, what was the messaging about the causes behind this attack early on.
One of those, the difference between it being inspired by this video as opposed to a terror a attack by Al Qaeda-tied groups on the 9/11 anniversary, that's one issue. The other issue is, did the State Department respond appropriately and quickly to request from diplomats in Libya to have better security.
Now, on those issues the answer may not be complete for sides, but did the ball moved forward on either of those issues? I didn't hear anything new and the chairman of the committee say the same thing that he didn't hear anything new.
I mean, at the end of the day, the judgment on those two questions come down to voters, come down to the American people, do they have a satisfying answer, was there fudging of the talking point of the public messaging on the causes behind this attack.
Did they delay in assigning blame to Al Qaeda-tied groups and talk about these rallies these protests that were going on around the region inspired by this video, did they delay on that?
BALDWIN: On that, let me jump in, let me jump in on that Elise, I want to drill down on, because, you know, on the first point that Jim is making, you know, the republicans honed in very early as to whether or not, you know, Secretary Clinton told the truth about whether this was a terror attack or this was an angry demonstration that just totally got out of control over that anti-Islamic video that was online at the time and causing all kinds of unrest around the world. This is one exchange from today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:10:10] JIM JORDAN, OHIO REPRESENTATIVE: It seems to me that night you had three options, Ms. Secretary. You could tell the truth like you did with your family, like you did with the Libyan President, like you did with the Egyptian Prime Minister, to tell them that it was a terrorist attack.
You could say, you know what, we're not quite sure. Don't really know for sure, I don't think the evidence is there, I think it's all in the first one, but you could have done that, but you picked the third option, you picked the video narrative and you picked the one with no evidence.
And you did it because Libya was supposed to be, that Mr. Roskam pointed out this great success story for the Obama White House and the Clinton State Department. And a key campaign team that year that was Jim alive and Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda is on the run.
And now you have a terrorist attack, and it's the terrorist in Libya, and it's just 56 days before an election. You can live with the protest about a video, that won't hurt you. But an terrorist attack will. So, you can't be square with the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, listening to that Elise, you know, he seems to make the case that she had a different version in public than she did in private, what is the truth?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, there are couple of different things going on and I would say that she did one, two, and three all at, you know, kind of various times as the administration did over the last few days. And, I mean, to go to what Congress Jordan's narrative is here, right? That Secretary Clinton basically orchestrated the invasion into Libya.
And so she's responsible for the extremism but took her eye off the ball and then basically was participating in the lax security because she wasn't making any decision, and then kind of missed the storm cloud that was coming with the Benghazi attacks.
The day of two attacks, there was a massive protest against this video at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, it was a massive protest, that was very violent, there was a lot of damaged done to the embassy. And then the following day, there violent protests about this video at the U.S. Embassies in Tunisia and Yemen.
So, when she said in her statement that some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material in this video, she was making nod to the Benghazi attacks, and she never really said that it was about a video, but there was conflicting information and I do think the administration was trying to spin this the right way. But she was also sending a message to nations around the world where the U.S. was begging for reinforcements to come and help protect the U.S. embassies, and she was sending a message to the citizens of these countries, do not attack our embassies because of this video, because we do not espouse the violent -- the anti-Muslim views in the this video.
BALDWIN: OK. I want to ask Gloria about the e-mails. Voters seem to care about the e-mails in this committee revealed this e-mail that Secretary Clinton had sent to her daughter, Chelsea, under the pseudonym Diane Reynolds, all right.
So, the e-mail goes like this. "Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Qaeda-like group. The ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty with a wife and two young children. Very hard day, and I fear more of the same tomorrow." Your read on that?
BORGER: Well, you know, what republicans were saying as Elise just said was that you said something in private different from what you were saying in public. It's an Al Qaeda-like group is what she said to her family, and you can take that, you know, you could take that anyway, because was it a terror attack or was it inspired by a video or was it a group or was it Al Qaeda people, I mean, it's vague enough.
So, I think she tend to defend herself. I think that what the committee missed, if this is the direction in which they wanted to go, I think that the committee had a way to go through a time line to ask specific questions about what she knew when that would lead to questions, if you're a republican, about her judgment, her leadership, the lack of security and all of the rest.
Instead, I think they tended to go down these rabbit holes of sort of picking at her about this e-mail, or what she said at, you know, at this particular moment or where she was at what time, and it didn't kind of hang together. So, instead of completing a narrative, they ended just up looking like more partisan than actually looking like people who wanted answers.
[22:15:06] BALDWIN: OK. Elise, you have reporting on that e-mail that I just read, what do you know?
LABOTT: Well, basically what she was referring to was a Facebook message that day.
BORGER: Right, right.
LABOTT: By someone of the Ansar Al-Sharia who claimed responsibility for that attack, the day later, it was retracted. And so, originally they thought it was Anwar Al-Sharia, then there was a, you know, a various several days where they knew it was some kind of a terrorist attack, they weren't sure than they were those disastrous talking points in which they were trying to spin it towards the protest.
But in the initial reading of what was going on and reading on Twitter and all these chats, there was a belief that Ansar Al-Sharia, this Al Qaeda-linked group took responsibility for it.
SCIUTTO: You know, Brooke.
BALDWIN: OK. Go ahead, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Brooke, I would just say this, it is possible that both could be true. I mean, in any incident like this, the intelligence wasn't certain. An intelligence is rarely certain early on following an attack like this.
But at the same time you do have an administration and we were dealing with this today with a deadly attack in Iraq on U.S.-led raid in Northern Iraq, it has its own talking points that it wants to push, that its own narrative that wants to push.
The fact is, this kind of thing happens on many events like this. So, it's possible, you know, both are true. They didn't know for sure. You had her as Elise was saying, talking to her daughter about an Al Qaeda-linked, that turned out to be later false while they were still trying to get a hard explanation of what was going on.
But, yes, this is an administration two months to a presidential election. It was very conscious about the public messaging on Libya. You know, those two things can be true at the same time. And I have to agree with Gloria there that there was an opportunity in 11 hours of testimony to go through this methodically. And keep in mind, you have a law -- you know, a prosecutor running this, someone who is schooled in this kind of line of questioning, and opportunity to do it, I think for all of us, so that we could line it up and get the answers at each opportunity.
It just it often it was about gotcha moments, you know, to try to find the sound bite of the day or the moment that was going to really -- that was really going to burst through.
BALDWIN: Twenty seconds, Dana. Twenty seconds.
BASH: Just real quick. I think certainly the take away at the end of the day is that this was partisan. But I just want to give you a little bit of piece of color into how much Trey Gowdy, the chairman was bending over backwards to make it look nonpartisan, which I guess is ironic when you look at how it ended up.
Normally, a witness comes up before a hearing they put their hand up and they sworn in, but that is such a loaded image, politically loaded especially when you have a candidate for president as Hillary Clinton is.
BALDWIN: They did it privately, right?
BASH: But they did the courtesy of doing it privately to make it look nonpolitical. So, it almost like it didn't matter, because so much of the day, the 10 or 11 hours, the take away was that it was so political what difference did that make?
BALDWIN: I just want to thank all of you so much. I know that it is very late hour. I want to move on. Thank you.
When we come back, all of you mentioned the t-word, truth. The search for the truth here is that about, is it about playing politics? After 11 hours, what we learned from an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: This is CNN Tonight. And I'm Brooke Baldwin. A day for the history books today on Capitol Hill today. The House republicans sparring with Hillary Clinton on Benghazi for 11 hours. But what have we actually learn from all of those questions and answers that back and forth.
Joining me now, P.J. Crowley, former assistant Secretary of State for public affairs for the Obama administration, and General Mark Kimmitt, assistant Secretary of State for political military affairs for George W. Bush administration.
Gentlemen, a pleasure to have both of you on this evening. P.J., let me just begin with you.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Sure.
BALDWIN: Because you were part of Hillary Clinton's State Department not during Benghazi. I just want to be precise on that. But, you know, she was repeatedly asked why she did not respond to increased calls for security from Benghazi from the consulate there, after 11 hours today, do we have an answer to that very question?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, Mark Kimmitt and I are both military officers who had the pleasure of serving at the State Department for various times. I think, you know, underneath all of the zany back and forth that we saw over all of these hours, there was a very serious question which is, you know, foreign diplomats where in a situation in Libya where we don't have 100,000 troops there to provide a cordon of security within which you can do your diplomacy.
There was a very serious question over, you know, what is the balance between, you know, security and engagement. And for someone like Chris Stevens, you know, understanding Libya where Tripoli will give you one advantage point of the country. You know, Benghazi is always a rival power center, you know, to Tripoli to find out what was going in Libya, he had actually go Benghazi.
And obviously, we do know that given the attack that did occur, he did not have enough security. You know, but this is something that we are encountering around the world in post conflict environments all the time.
And even in a major first world capital like Seoul, South Korea. You know, not long ago, our U.S. ambassador there was attacked by a guy with the knife. And these are things that do crop up on a regular basis unfortunately. And this is something that we're going to have to deal with going forward. I think that Tammy Duckworth was one among the committee that try to figure out what have we learn and what do we apply, you know, to our future experience?
BALDWIN: General Kimmitt, you know, one issue that I know was raised a lot of the people in Benghazi, they were CIA, CIA contractors, but yet, it was Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State who is sitting there being grilled and the question to you is, you know, why wouldn't you have officials from the CIA? Why not, you know, former director General Petraeus part of the grilling as well?
MARK KIMMITT, FORMER PLANS & STRATEGY, CENTRAL COMMAND DIRECTOR: Well, at the end of day, the lead responsibility for embassies and diplomats abroad is the Secretary of State. But it was also an administration effort, and the fact remains that we wanted to do to Libya without putting boots on the ground.
So, the lack of boots on the ground or even worse, lack of troops anywhere near Libya within approximate time to be able to help out, I think it's something that is concerning not only for the Libya situation, but going forward as we are have a world of doing expeditionary diplomacy.
BALDWIN: I want to follow up with you because in terms of communication, let's say, between states specifically, you know, then Secretary and say, and Ambassador Stevens what did come out today was the fact that apparently after he left for his post in Benghazi, there was no communication between Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Stevens, does that sound normal to you, is that protocol?
[22:25:11] KIMMITT: Well, if the question is to me...
KIMMITT: ... what I would say is typically the day-to-day conversation goes on between the assistant Secretary of State of the Middle East and the diplomats in that particular area. But one has to wonder as important as Libya was not only in its turbulent state at that time, but also the headlines that it had back in the United States.
It did surprise me that the head of the State Department who has the ultimate responsibility for the diplomatic actions on the ground in Libya wasn't talking to the ambassador on even in an infrequent basis.
BALDWIN: So, you were surprised by that. P.J. Crowley, and Congressman Roskam went after her very hard as far as whether or not she took every responsibility for what happened in Benghazi as she claimed and did it in a pretty dramatic manner. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER ROSKAM, ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: If you are responsible, what action would you have done differently? What do you own as a result of this? So far I've heard since we have been together today, I've heard one dismissive thing after another. It was this group. It was that group. I wasn't served. I wasn't served by that. What did you do? What do you own?
CLINTON: Well, I was telling you some of the many related issues I was working on to try to help the Libyan people making...
ROSKAM: What's your responsibility to Benghazi, that's my question?
CLINTON: Well, my responsibility was to be briefed and to discuss with the security experts and the policy experts whether we would have a post in Benghazi, and whether we would continue it, and whether we would make it permanent. And as I've said repeatedly throughout the day, no one ever recommended closing the post in Benghazi.
ROSKAM: No one recommended closing, but you had two ambassador that made several, several requests, and here is basically what happened to their requests. They were torn up.
Secretary Clinton, I think you should have added this. Chris Stevens kept faith with the State Department that I headed even when we broke faith with him. He accepted my invitation to serve in Benghazi, even though he was denied the security he implored us to give him. I and my colleagues were distracted by other matters and opportunities and ambitions we've reached our fundamental duty to mitigate this danger and secure his safety, I met with Glen Dorothy, John Smith, and Tyrone woods. That would be more accurate when you say it Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Of course, I would not say that and I think that it's a disservice for you to make that statement, Congressman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: P.J., your reaction to that.
CROWLEY: Well, I mean, in the answer to a different question, you know, she said, hey, no one has lost more sleep over this, no one else has focused on what else could have been done, you know, to provide better security to, you know, Chris Stevens and the others in Benghazi.
She has the one that has to live with this. You know, any, you know, Secretary of State or any military commander that sends troops in the battle or sends the troops into a combat or difficult situation, you know, not only understands the risk, but then it does weigh on you when, you know, these people are harmed and in some cases, you know, these people are killed.
And I think that this is a challenging situation for, you know, the State Department doing what we call, you know, expeditionary diplomacy that we are going to put people into difficult situations without necessarily having, you know, boots on the ground.
Mark Kimmitt was talking about that earlier.
CROWLEY: That, you know, in this particular case, you know, there was a discussion with Libya about, you know, some sort of security force to enhance them, and it was the Libyans themselves that said, hey, we don't want any foreign forces here, we're going to take care of our own transition.
And within the State Department as Secretary did say today, normally, under the normal circumstances, you know, the first line of security around an embassy is provided by the host nation, and that obviously was a capability that Libya didn't have.
But we're going to encounter, you know, these kinds of situations where Mark Kimmitt is standing right now.
CROWLEY: You know, you've got a country like Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, you know, they're coming as part of the scenes, and yet, we need diplomatic personnel there to normally understand what's going on but to try to do this and try to move these transitions forward without putting 100,000 troops on the ground.
[22:29:54] BALDWIN: To your point and really looking into the future, and you, you know, absolutely point out all of these nations that are, you know, pertinent to all of these sort of security questions, General Kimmitt, what is your one question that still looms?
KIMMITT: Well, actually, I've got two. Number one, I escorted the Secretary of Defense both Secretary Gates and Secretary Rumsfeld to talk to commanders on the ground. And I was surprised to hear Hillary Clinton say that she hadn't talked to the commander on the ground in this case, and hadn't gotten on the airplane and talked to them directly.
She can be briefed by her staff as much as possible, but if you want to hear what's really happening on the ground, you got to talk to the commander. The second lesson I take away is that as we go forward and get away from the issues of Benghazi.
We have to decide if we're going to protect our diplomats abroad by putting them 24/7 behind four walls as I see in many embassies in this region, or if we're going to protect them by providing them enough security so that they can get out they can engage.
I think what we're learning from Libya, is that there was not enough security provided so that Chris Stevens could go out and do his diplomacy. And I certainly hope that we not only have security on the ground but security readily available in extremist so our diplomats not only can do their job but be safe while doing it.
BALDWIN: Absolutely. General Kimmitt, thank you so much. In Baghdad for us just after 5 o'clock in the morning, and P.J. Crowley, thank you as we.
When we come back, the former congressman who has also investigated the Benghazi, what he thinks of today's hearing and Hillary Clinton's answers. And as you watched the former Secretary of State arriving at her Washington home tonight. Here she goes, a grueling day of testimony.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We're back with our coverage and analysis of Hillary Clinton's day long testimony before the House Benghazi Committee.
Joining me now Mike Rogers, CNN national security commentator and former republican member of Congress, and Lanny Davis, contributor to The Hill.com and a former white House special counsel to President Bill Clinton.
Great to having both of you on tonight. And, Lanny, I just have to ask this, I mean, you have supported Hillary Clinton through thick and thin, here we just saw the shots of her walking into her Washington home, what is doing right now?
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: I don't know whether she's having a drink or not, but I think she's a...
BALDWIN: How did you know that was going?
DAVIS: Yes, I know. I think she's as long as I have known her since law school, and by the way, I'm a great admirer of Mike Rogers, I wouldn't have said that while he was in office, because it would hurt his political career.
As long as I've known her, she has worked hard, she's does her homework when she has command of the facts, almost nobody is better. And what she showed tonight was poise and stature and didn't allow herself to be ruffled by what I thought was some pretty tough and pretty partisan questioning, and after 11 hours, she merged I think with great enhanced stature, and maybe people in the middle who had some doubts about her, have a little bit better opinion of her tonight.
BALDWIN: OK. So, poised, no word on her, ask different choice after daylight today. Congressman Rogers, to you, you know, when you were Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, you investigated Benghazi, watching it all unfold today with this committee, how did your findings compare?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, my lane was the intelligence community, so all of the things that we heard upfront that there were possibly a gun running, and there were what was the CIA doing there, and they were some nefarious mission, they were trying to get guns into Syria at that time.
All of that was on my purview of the committee and to find out on the way up to Benghazi, what happened on the day of the attack in Benghazi and then what happened on the days, the subsequent days.
So, that investigation was I believe it was very thorough, it was a unanimous decision by the committee to vote that report out, it took a long time, as the most work we've ever done on any issue on the committee by the way, and we thought it was very thorough, thorough.
The one place that we thought that there was were some problems was the fact that there were these security requests sent up through the State Department. And it is important to remember, we didn't have jurisdiction of the State Department, that was not our purview.
There were requests; the CIA said the place wasn't safe. I know the review board found that there were some violations, not violations, that they had not responded well to the security requests by the individuals there, and that was one of the weaknesses that I saw today.
I wish she had been a lot more aggressive about what she could have done to hold some of those individuals accountable, the review board found, I think two individuals responsible for that. She seemed a little more cavalier than I thought she should have on that issue given that their decisions likely contributed to the death of four Americans.
BALDWIN: Let me ask you, now, about this, Congressman, because there has been a lot of controversy about the republican members who are implied or said that this hearing was politically motivated.
I mean, and to your point that the thrust of this really should have been about security, but certainly obviously politics at play. I want you to listen to this exchange. Again, this is Congressman Roskam, one of her toughest questioners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER ROSKAM, ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: Well, you just recited the Clinton doctrine to us, and let me tell you what I think the Clinton doctrine is. I think it's where an opportunity to seized to turn progress in Libya into a political win for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And at the precise moment when things look good, take a victory lap like an all of the Sunday shows three times that year before Khadafy was killed and then turn your attention to other things. I yield back.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Congressman, that is only a political statement which you well understand, and I don't understand why that has anything to do with what we are supposed to be talking about today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Congressman, how do statements like that help, hurt your party?
ROGERS: Well, listen, I decided early on and I took a lot of grief for this that I was to going to have a fact-based, I'm a former FBI guy, a fact-based investigation, we are going to do it in a bipartisan way and we're going to find the facts and we're going to follow the leads where they took us.
[22:40:00] And we did that. I think that when you turn it into a political question or political statement during an investigation, I don't really think that helps your cause.
Yes, I know that there are a lot of republicans who feel that way. There is a lot of folks out there who passionately believe that, that's OK. But I think as part of the investigation, it probably shouldn't be a part of it.
And by the way, the democrats were equally as bad. They went to their corner, the republicans went to their corner, it is probably hard for Americans to decipher what is exactly going on here. I'm not exactly what just happened. And that was probably not a great day for the committee in that public forum.
BALDWIN: Lanny, what's your respond to that final big from Congressman Rogers. But also, I do have to get to the e-mail point, and then we've got to go. But, you know, the former Secretary of State just struggled to answer the questions about her e-mails.
And that issue is very mush still alive. The FBI is still investigating, republicans will no doubt use it against her, you know, if she is the ultimately the democratic nominee, this is is not over, sir.
DAVIS: OK. First of all, I do want to again compliment Mike Rogers specifically...
BALDWIN: So nice.
DAVIS: ... specifically his committee.
ROGERS: Thanks, Lanny. Do I owe you a drink or something?
DAVIS: Your committee and the House on Services Committee was a bipartisan thorough investigation that explored all the questions. Let's not forget that Hillary Clinton Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen and they came up with a harsh phrase.
There was a systemic failure at the State Department, she published those findings and she took responsibility and implemented their suggestions and there was discipline on some of the issues.
BALDWIN: What about the e-mails and then we have to go.
DAVIS: So, if you want to switch from Benghazi to e-mails, in my opinion, the e-mails story is nothing, but now, about politics, and I think that Bernie Sanders summed up what most Americans are thinking which is they are tired about the damn e-mails let's talk about education, health care and what people really care about.
But that's a completely different subject and we were told by Gowdy they wouldn't be talking about e-mails.
BALDWIN: But they were.
DAVIS: And when he was asked, Mike, right after the hearing he was asked, did you learn anything new today Secretary Clinton he said, actually no. And it made me think actually, Mike, that your committee did such a thorough job that the only thing he had left to do was to be political...
DAVIS: ... the way Kevin McCarthy said, because your committee did the job that he should have done and didn't.
BALDWIN: All right, gentlemen. I appreciate how nice it is and I do want to say even though Senator Sanders said, you know, forget about the e-mails, if you look at the polls the Americans, they care.
Gentlemen, thank you very much.
Will the Benghazi investigation and Hillary Clinton's testimony have an impact on her run for the White House? We'll talk about that next.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: A long and exhausting day for Hillary Clinton testifying before this Benghazi Committee, I'm sure for the committee members as well.
Joining me now Bob Beckel, CNN political commentator and author of "I Should Be Dead, My Life Surviving Politics TV, and Addiction," also A.B. Stoddard of The Hill, Van Jones, a former Obama administration official, and Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Let's get right to it, shall we. A.B., you know, watching all of this I couldn't help but think about Hillary Clinton point with the Vegas debate about her enemies who were republicans and maybe, you know, you can understand where she's coming from her perspective after today. How much do voters in the U.S. care about Benghazi?
A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL ASSOCIATE EDITOR: I don't know that they care much, and I definitely don't know that they watched from 10 o'clock this morning like I did, and listened to all the exchanges, right?
Skeptical voters who are shopping her and might want to be persuaded might have tuned in, but I don't think much changed. I think her republican detractors definitely delivered right into her hands. I think she performed much better not only than the republicans, but even the democrats on the committee.
I thought it was just partisan and ugly and I thought that there was so much commentary and conclusion in the presentations by the republican members that her very detailed answers and her calm measure really shined through and she really won the day.
I don't know if it helps her a lot. I think the FBI investigation is much more damning. But she has to stay behind her and she can say she answered 11 hours about the stuff.
BALDWIN: Amanda, you're nodding. I want to go straight to you as the republican on the panel, as such an important voice here. Why are you nodding your head?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, here is the thing. I think A.B. is right. Votes probably weren't tuned in for the entire 11 hours of the congressional testimony. But in the 2016 election voters are going to care about how Hillary Clinton would handle foreign policy.
She stated in her congressional testimony that, you know, she stand by her decisions in Libya. In the previous CNN democratic debate she essentially painted Libya as a success story saying that she defended the decision to send diplomats into the very dangerous areas. And so we have to point that...
BALDWIN: I don't know if that means success. I think she was just defending her administrations' decision.
CARPENTER: But she said that Libya is an example of smart power, she defends the decision that the U.S. would not lead on certain things that were going on in the area. And we have to look at what has happened in Libya since.
I mean, earlier this year, 21 Christians were beheaded there on the beach, and so, there was a strategic decision to go into Libya and to support Gadhafi's ouster. But I don't think there is any vision for what the American footprint looked like on the aftermath of that as ISIS being the foothold in the region.
So, this is something that will certainly be discuss in the 2016 election, and you know, Hillary Clinton is going to have to answer more questions as we go on.
BALDWIN: Sure. No, absolutely. Bob, your thoughts, sir?
BOB BECKEL, "I SHOULD BE DEAD" AUTHOR: Well, I mean, look, she had two big things to get over before voting starts. One was the first debate which she did fine and this hearing, which the republicans, if they had to do it over again, they would have it back, I would think.
Does it help her campaign, yes, certainly. But here's the big problem. What I disagree with Lanny about the e-mails. It's not the e-mail content or the rest of it, but she has the most important problem that any presidential candidate has and that's trust. That is where the American people put the highest premium on the candidate and she needs to get beyond that. And the e-mail...
BALDWIN: How does she do it?
BECKEL: Well, I think she gets through the e-mail thing. I think if the FBI decides not to investigate or not to try to indict her or anything like that, then she's through it, and she is going to be fine.
BALDWIN: OK. Van Jones, I promise I'm not ignoring you, I want to get to your thoughts. Quick commercial break. Back in a moment.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: And we're back with Bob Beckel, A.B. Stoddard, Van Jones, and Amanda Carpenter. Mr. Jones, we will begin with you. How did Hillary Clinton do today?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I thought what you saw was an 11-hour audition to be the Commander-in-Chief. That's really what you saw. And I think she came through with flying colors.
You know, it's not just a question of her trustworthy numbers going down, but her base, her strength is her strength, and she looked really weak this summer. You have people a month ago saying, today is the day her campaign would probably end, she's going to go, she's going to fall apart, and she is going to be defensive. And you had people really expecting that.
What you've seen now is twice in a row, the Lilliputians cannot tie down this Gulliver. When she stood on stage with the presidential contenders the Lilliputians could not tie down Gulliver, and then today, 11 hours today, she could not be tied down.
So, the trust thing can come back, but when you're weak and you're flip-flopping and you're defensive, that destroy your core deal, which is your strength, she looked strong today, she looked very strong today.
BALDWIN: Bob, I appreciated that, I could hear the laugh as I was looking at you.
BECKEL: It's a great one.
BALDWIN: Let me all -- we need to turn to the republican race, and this is a big deal. Today, we have some new numbers. The latest Quinnipiac University poll of Iowa republicans released today, Ben Carson has surged past Trump in Iowa, you the numbers in your screen. A.B., what happened?
STODDARD: Well, Trump didn't like it very much and he tweeted -- he re-tweeted something, and then, later playing an intern which is interesting, because as we have heard, he does his own tweeting all day long made it into the night.
BALDWIN: Maybe he made that, we don't know.
STODDARD: But I don't know that he gives it over to the interns.
JONES: Just a straight shooter.
STODDARD: But it was an interesting moment and if it wasn't all that the Benghazi hearing, it would have been, you know, blanket coverage. But Iowans are, you know, a particular bunch and the caucusing process is very and strenuous, and they are very engage and informed group of politically-minded people in this country.
[22:55:07] And on the republican side, they're looking at a big wide field. They're looking fondly at Ben Carson and this might be the beginning of a Carson surge where he actually eclipses Trump or we don't know. But, we'll see. It will be interesting to see Trump's reaction in the days to come.
BALDWIN: On this tweet, Amanda, let me ask you about it, the said intern tweet, I don't know. Trump said it was an intern he yanked it from his feed. The tweet was this, has tag "Ben Carson is now leading in the polls in Iowa. Too much Monsanto in the corn creates issues in the brain?"
And so, you know, he pulls, he pulls the tweet then he tweets, "The young intern who accidentally did a re-tweet apologizes." Of all the things that we have seen in the Trump, you know, campaign, the good, the bad, the ugly, is this the closest thing that we've seen to an apology?
CARPENTER: It could certainly be the most preposterous statement I've heard him say. I mean, listen, Donald Trump social media feed he has I think millions and millions of followers, more than three million. There is no way that some young intern is at the helm of this, and if that's actually true, then that is probably one of the stupidest things that I have ever heard from a campaign.
I mean, this is everything. It is his campaign, he doesn't have an organizational structure on the ground in Iowa to give voters to a caucus, he has a Twitter account and he made a massive mistake and he's not just going to walk it back.
JONES: And it really goes to this whole...
BALDWIN: Quickly, Van, quickly.
JONES: ... think about, He's a straight shooter, he's Mr. Tell, he tell like he is, but then he does something like that, he runs and hides behind the phantom intern. I think that's off...
BALDWIN: There you go. I don't know, I can't explain it. I can't explain it, and I would love to ask him, himself. I would like to thank you all of you so much, what a day it has been in Washington.
I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. That is it for us tonight. AC360 starts in just a moment.