Two years after its formation, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is finally nearing the end of its investigation. The committee's final report could be available within just a "couple of months," according to one member.
"We have interviewed dozens and dozens of witnesses that no other committee had previously spoken with. We've uncovered tens of thousands of documents that no committee has previously seen," Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo told the Washington Examiner this week.
However, he added, "There are many documents we now know we're never going to get. We know we're never going to get to completion in the sense of getting every document we would like to see. But we don't think we can wait. We're going to continue to press forward."
Pompeo talked with the Washington Examiner in an extended question-and-answer session:
Washington Examiner: Bradley Podliska, who was fired by the committee and subsequently sued partially based on his claim that it was too biased against Clinton, recently dropped that from his lawsuit. The media didn't do much to highlight that, in spite of initially giving him a huge amount of coverage. How significant was that from the perspective of the committee?
Pompeo: In the days leading up to that, the Left's message machine was vicious in attacking our committee, asserting that it was just a political operation, and the lawsuit from Mr. Podliska was wrapped up inside of that.
It was pointed to by every left-wing media outlet, every progressive organization, as meaning that these folks were just out to get Hillary Clinton. It got enormous coverage that was wall to wall. They wrote about it incessantly.
Now we know that his claims were false. I will tell you, I have yet to see the same amount of coverage apologizing for the reporting that was associated with that. I suspect we will never see it. That's unfortunate, because it impacted the American people's view of what has been an incredibly professional, diligent, fact-based investigation that is still ongoing, for four Americans who were murdered.
It's unfortunate that the progressive media took the bait and jaundiced some Americans' view of what we're trying to accomplish.
Examiner: U.S. District Judge Lamberth ruled that Judicial Watch could proceed with more discovery against the State Department, related to a FOIA the group submitted over talking points that Susan Rice used on Benghazi, because of "evidence of government wrongdoing and bad faith" and "constantly shifting" stories. Does this tie into broader obstruction of the investigation by the administration?
Pompeo: Of course it does. The State Department has acted with gross incompetence at best with respect to what our committee has been trying to do. We have been pursuing a legitimate inquiry into how we had the first ambassador killed in decades. The State Department has taken not days, not months, but years to get us documents we wanted.
First they told us, with respect to Hillary Clinton's emails in particular, you have them all, only for us to find we of course didn't have any of them because she had potentially placed them on a homebrew server in the basement of her home in New York.
Every step along the way we have had to fight, pull, ask repeatedly, and play detective to determine whether we had a complete record set, and learn later that we didn't in the case of the Sidney Blumenthal emails, we learned later we didn't get all of those emails, because we were able to independently obtain those. We've had to rely on discovery that has taken place outside of our investigation by groups like Judicial Watch and others who have made FOIA requests.
We've had to use information from those proceedings to help us. Instead of doing what the State Department ought to do, which is respond to a legitimate inquiry from the legislative branch duly authorized by statute and cooperate.
Had they cooperated, we would have our report done, and we would in a much better position to share with the American people the facts of what happened.
I will certainly say our committee has been stonewalled at nearly every turn by the State Department in our efforts to get the facts about the deaths in Benghazi that occurred nearly four years ago.
Examiner: A Washington Post report recently voiced criticism that the Benghazi Committee is not acting as a "public forum for testimony and evidence," which is what some people would like. Is that complaint misguided?
Pompeo: I haven't seen that report. Here's what I know about how Chairman Gowdy, and most of the members of the committee, have proceeded.
We determined early on that the best way to get to the bottom of this situation, to determine what really occurred in the run-up to the events with the security situation both at the State Department facility and at the annex, and in the post-event statements made by the U.S. government, was to conduct this in a way that got at the facts. It wasn't to hold a whole lot of public hearings where members of Congress try to make video tapes for five minutes, it was to conduct interviews in a fact-based setting.
That was our charter. I get that it seems quiet, it seems like there's very little activity from the committee, but I can assure you the committee remains incredibly active. There's still an awful lot going on.
We're getting closer to completion and the time that I think we'll issue our report. We have interviewed dozens and dozens of witnesses that no other committee had previously spoken with. We've uncovered tens of thousands of documents that no committee has previously seen.
I think our report will reflect that and accomplish the mission we were given. It will lay out the facts in Benghazi.
Examiner: What do you anticipate the committee's priorities will be over the next few months?
Pompeo: We still have witnesses that remain to be interviewed. We still have pockets of documents that we don't have. There are many documents we now know we're never going to get. We know we're never going to get to completion in the sense of getting every document we would like to see. But we don't think we can wait. We're going to continue to press forward.
But we still have pockets of documents that we will receive over the coming weeks. Once we've completed those, we'll put the picture together in its entirety. I'm hoping that in the next couple of months, we can get a completed report in the hands of the American people.
Examiner: Are your constituents still paying attention to this issue?
Pompeo: Every time I'm in front of a group of constituents, I get asked about how the committee's work is proceeding, what it is we're doing, and when it is they can see it. Within the last 24 hours I was in front of a group of 40 or 50 Kansans. The first question was about the Supreme Court, and the second question was about the death of Ambassador Stevens.