Republicans and Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi are sparring over how the panel's highly anticipated final report should be composed as the investigation enters its final few weeks.
After Benghazi Democrats last week demanded a role in drafting the final report, Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy accused the minority of selectively leaking information to the press in a letter explaining his reluctance to entrust Democrats with evidence from the investigation.
Gowdy noted Sunday in the letter he sent to Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee's ranking Democrat, that minority members are allowed to read transcripts of the most recent witness interviews conducted by the panel, but are not permitted to possess copies.
"This investigation has uncovered new information that will change how the public views what happened before, during and after the attacks in Benghazi," Gowdy wrote to Cummings. "Despite your best efforts to prevent it from happening, actually talking to eyewitnesses and actually accessing relevant documents has produced new information."
Benghazi Democrats have long condemned their own committee's work, accusing the majority of twisting the panel's work into a partisan attack on Hillary Clinton.
Minority members argued Tuesday that Republicans have pursued their political ends with "unilateral releases of information" during the two-year investigation.
For example, the Democrats cited the June 2015 publication of emails submitted by Sidney Blumenthal, an informal aide to Clinton during her State Department tenure, as evidence that the committee's GOP members were focused on the likely Democratic nominee.
"[W]e want to make one final attempt to put politics aside by having Republicans and Democrats exchange proposed drafts of our final reports," committee Democrats wrote in their letter to the chairman.
Gowdy called the minority members' request to be included in the drafting process "mildly amusing" given their longtime obstruction of the probe, which included the creation of a website attempting to debunk the committee's lines of inquiry before witnesses had been questioned.
Even so, the South Carolina Republican vowed to allow panel Democrats the opportunity to review and edit the final report, which is set for release this month.
"[A]fter the committee completes its work, the American people will be able to read the report, the supporting evidence and transcripts, and judge for themselves the value and fairness of our investigation," Gowdy said.
Refuting the Democrats' argument that his side had participated in partisan leaks, Gowdy noted that congressional investigators had first uncovered Clinton's private email use in August 2014.
The public did not learn of Clinton's decision to host all of her government communications on a private server until March of the following year.
Federal agencies have been slow to respond to many of the committee's document requests, and requested records continued to trickle in as late as last month despite the panel's attempts to wrap up the investigation months earlier.
Democrats have used the slow pace of the investigation to argue that panel Republicans have stalled the release of the final report in order to affect the presidential election.
"Based on their latest letter, it appears that the Republicans have decided not to vet their draft report for accuracy with the rest of the select committee members before they release it to the public shortly before the political conventions this summer," a spokesman for panel Democrats said.