Why is Hillary Clinton testifying about Benghazi again?

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified in January 2013 about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. She will do so again on Oct. 22.

Mary Altaffer/AP
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business in New York on July 24, 2015.

Hillary Clinton will appear before the House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack in October, her presidential campaign announced.

According to Ms. Clinton’s campaign, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is leading the investigation into the events of Sept. 11, 2012 in Libya, has invited the former secretary of state for a public hearing. The Benghazi terrorist attack left four Americans dead.

"Earlier this week we were pleased for Secretary Clinton to receive an offer from Congressman (Trey) Gowdy to appear before the committee in a public hearing in October, and yesterday accepted his invitation," campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement on Friday.

Mr. Merill told CNN on Saturday that Clinton will publicly testify before the House Select Committee on October 22.

Gowdy had initially asked for private interviews, but Clinton had insisted that she will only appear before the panel for a public hearing, Politico reported in April. 

Clinton agreed to testify before the committee during the week of May 18 or later, but rejected Gowdy’s request to appear twice. The testimony never took place.

Now the Democratic presidential hopeful has agreed once again to appear in front of the committee. Her acceptance came the same day that new questions emerged about her use of a personal email server for official State Department business. Two inspectors general said they have found that out of a sample of 40 personal emails sent from Clinton’s private email account, four contained government secrets.

In response to the State Department’s and intelligence community’s concerns about Clinton’s work emails, Clinton's team wants to ensure that "appropriate procedures are followed as these emails are reviewed," Merill said in his Friday statement, "while not unduly delaying the release of her emails."

Merill added, "More emails are slated to be released by the State Department next week, and we hope that release is as inclusive as possible."

Some of Clinton's supporters see the current efforts, including Gowdy’s, as a political move to discredit Clinton’s reputation ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, accused Gowdy last week of focusing on partisan attacks against Clinton, MSNBC reported.

"It appears that much of the Select Committee's work has been shelved while Republicans pursue every possible avenue of political attack against Secretary Clinton," Cummings wrote in a letter to Gowdy. "These actions by the Select Committee – which lack any legitimate basis – serve only to delay its work further into the election season and subject it to increasingly widespread criticism for its highly partisan actions."

Gowdy says he is only interested in getting to the bottom of the Benghazi attack.

CNN reports Clinton’s allies and campaign aides had hoped that testimony would happen earlier, as the heat of the 2016 contest is getting closer. But they have also told the reporters they are confident Clinton would be able to successfully handle the committee hearing.

As Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told Politico in April, "Hillary Clinton has already spent five hours testifying at two congressional committee hearings but, as she’s been saying since last year, she’s happy to do it again."

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