As Majority Whip, Sen. Dick Durbin is always a good source of Democratic talking points. On Sunday’s Face The Nation, Durbin defended former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from congressional Republicans who want her to testify about the deaths of four American foreign service workers in Benghazi, Libya, last Sept. 11. Speaking from his hometown of Springfield, Durbin said Clinton’s testimony would be a political stunt designed to undermine her 2016 presidential campaign. An independent report by former United Nations ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, absolved Clinton of accusations she was responsible for a lack of security at the outpost. Clinton has testified twice before congressional committees investigating the attack, but Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wants to bring her back to address what he called a “cover up” of details surrounding the attack.
Here’s what Durbin told host Bob Schieffer:
Thomas Pickering appeared on your show this morning. I wish he would have appeared at the hearing last week. He asked to be there. He’s the most respected diplomat in Washington. For over 25 years, presidents of both parties have given him the toughest diplomatic assignments. And you heard what he just said, Bob. He, together with Admiral Mullen, went through a lengthy review of the security aspects of this. They came up with a recommendation for changes, which were accepted by Secretary Clinton and President Obama. The bottom line is this: this was a tragedy. We lost four Americans who were risking their lives to represent our country. We want to find those responsible and hold them responsible, and we want to make sure that the security in embassies in the future -- and consulates -- is going to be the very best for the men and women who work for us. But unfortunately, this has been caught up in the 2016 presidential campaign. This effort to go after Hillary Clinton -- the reason she wasn’t interviewed was the she didn’t have any direct line responsibility for the decisions that were made, but they want to bring her in because they think it’s a good political show, and I think that’s unfortunate.
Published at 11:05 AM CST on May 13, 2013