House Benghazi committee member defends investigation

Story highlights

  • Rep. Susan Brooks said the House Benghazi committee is engaged in a "fact-centric" investigation
  • Hillary Clinton is set to testify before the panel Thursday

Washington (CNN)A Republican member of the House Benghazi committee defended that panel's work Monday, as comments from other Republicans spurred questions of its legitimacy a few days before Hillary Clinton is set to testify before the group.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, said that the panel had many questions for Clinton and defended the committee against accusations that it has embarked on a political witch hunt instead of an investigation of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
"We have interviewed over 57 witnesses, more than 40 of whom had never been interviewed by congressional committees before," Brooks told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day." "Thirty witnesses had never been interviewed by anybody before, including seven who were at the scene of the attack that had never been interviewed by anybody before. These are new facts and that is what this committee has always been about: a very fact-centric investigation."
    Clinton's Thursday testimony comes as one Republican, Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, said the panel's focus was on Clinton and not the Benghazi attack. It's also a few weeks after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said that the panel had succeeded in damaging Clinton's poll numbers, a statement that has infuriated supporters of the committee and given fodder to Democrats.
    Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the panel, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he couldn't put a deadline on the panel's work because of its political focus.
    "We don't know what we're looking for, we can't put an end date on it because we don't know what this committee is supposed to look for. Apart from damaging Hillary Clinton, it has no reason for existence," Schiff said.
    But Republicans still have plenty of questions for Clinton, said Brooks, herself a former federal prosecutor.
    "Well, the secretary was the head of the agency, she was the head of the State Department, she was responsible, as she has admitted, responsibility for what happened," Brooks said. "However, what we need to find out is, is what was the environment within the State Department? What were the security requests that were made? How were they decided? What involvement did she have in making those decisions? Who did she put in charge? How much information did she receive? What did she know? What did she not know?"