As the House Select Committee on Benghazi continues to interview witnesses and individuals with considerable knowledge of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks, Republicans and Democrats on the committee are routinely at odds.
Now, a letter written Wednesday from committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to the ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), revealed that Democrats have refused to promise that they will not leak important information from the hearings.
In a statement Wednesday, Gowdy said Cummings refused to not selectively leak the investigation's crucial witness transcripts:
“As recently as this afternoon, I offered Mr. Cummings total, unfettered access to, and control of, transcripts if he simply agreed he would not selectively leak them. He would not give me that assurance.”
Gowdy added that he has “no choice but to protect past witnesses, future witnesses, confidential material and the integrity of the investigation by allowing the Democrats equitable access but not control.”
The statement coincided with a letter to Cummings, in which Gowdy outlined the various intentional breaches and leaks by Democrats on the committee.
He wrote that Democratic members and staffers on the committee “refused to agree not to selectively release witness transcripts before the Committee completes its investigation and issues its report.”
Gowdy maintained that he wants to release the witness transcripts in due time, but such information must first be carefully evaluated.
In response to Gowdy's letter, Cummings issued a statement that committee Democrats “will not agree to conditions that prevent us from putting out the facts that witnesses have told the Committee in order to rebut the conspiracy theories about Benghazi.”
"Republicans are so desperate to keep us from sharing these facts with the public, they denied Democrats any access to some of these witness transcripts for weeks.
Republicans are writing a secret, partisan report that they plan to make public shortly before the election – and they are violating House Rules in order to try to silence Democrats from putting out the facts before then."
The back and forth between Gowdy and Cummings began when the committee's Democrats demanded access to the transcripts, which came in the form of a letter from Cummings.
Cummings wrote that Gowdy and his staff have been withholding the transcripts for more than a month and that such actions:
“...impair our ability to share the evidence supporting our fact-based analysis with the public, essentially quieting any dissent from your report from the start.”
Gowdy has made clear he is not willing to sacrifice the integrity of the investigation without the preconditions that Democratic members will not prematurely reveal the transcripts.
“[I] would be pleased to provide copies of these transcripts to Minority staff and members for your own custody just as soon as you commit to stop the practice of selectively releasing certain transcripts while ignoring the release of others,” Gowdy wrote.
The United States House Select Committee on Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi was created in May of 2014.
You can read Gowdy's letter in its entirety, below: