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Democrat slams Benghazi panel as a ‘taxpayer funded’ campaign to derail Hillary Clinton

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Turmoil swirled again on Friday around the Republican-controlled Benghazi committee in the U.S. House of Representatives as it began questioning a senior aide to Hillary Clinton.

Huma Abedin, a close confidante for years of the Democratic presidential campaign front-runner, in the morning entered a closed-door interview of undetermined duration with the panel.

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After she went in, Democratic Representative and panel member Elijah Cummings came out and said summoning Abedin raised the question of whether the panel is “a taxpayer funded effort to derail the (presidential) candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

He said Abedin, who is the vice-chairwoman of Clinton’s campaign, had no responsibilities related to the tragedy the committee was set up to investigate. Abedin’s appearance came less than a week before Clinton is to appear before the panel.

Organized originally to probe the 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the committee has been under attack by Democrats, who say it is a partisan investigation unleashed by the Republican-majority House.

The committee has come under especially harsh criticism since Representative Kevin McCarthy, the No. 2 House Republican, suggested in a recent television interview that the probe had helped to drive down Clinton’s presidential poll ratings.

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Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, during which four Americans were killed including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Cummings said Friday that the panel’s calling in Abedin was more evidence that McCarthy had been telling the truth about the committee’s real aims.

Abedin, “based on other testimony that we’ve gotten, has no policy responsibilities, no operational responsibilities, was not with Secretary Clinton on the night of this phenomenal tragedy,” Cummings told reporters during a break in committee proceedings.

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The Benghazi panel’s chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy, did not attend the interview with Abedin, and it was unclear how many members of the committee were present.

Committee aides said Abedin was called to answer questions about the events leading up to, during and after the attacks, as well as executive branch activities and efforts to comply with congressional inquiries into them.

A spokesman for Gowdy said he does not attend every committee interview, but does talk with the staff beforehand “and he trusts his colleagues and staff to then ask substantive investigatory questions.”

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Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said it was unclear why the committee had called in Abedin, “given her lack of knowledge about the events surrounding Benghazi.”

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Tom Brown)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump approves of North Korea missile tests: ‘I have no problem’ because they’re just ‘short-range missiles’

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On Thursday, in conversation with reporters, President Donald Trump said that he had 'no problem' with North Korea's new round of missile tests.

"Short-range missiles, we never made an agreement on that," said Trump. "I have no problem, we'll see what happens, but these are short-range missiles. They're very standard."

The thought that short-range missiles would still be capable of hitting our allies in the region, like South Korea and Japan, does not seem to have occurred to him.

Watch below:

Trump says he has "no problem" with North Korea testing missiles because they are just "short-range missiles" that are "very standard." pic.twitter.com/fdKtQ6yrBE

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Elections 2016

Russian Twitter propaganda predicted 2016 US election polls

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When Robert Mueller completed his long-awaited investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, he left many questions unanswered.

But one conclusion was unequivocal: Russia unleashed an extensive campaign of fake news and disinformation on social media with the aim of distorting U.S. public opinion, sowing discord and swinging the election in favor of the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

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Elections 2016

Beto O’Rourke calls for a ‘war tax’ in release of health care plan for veterans

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The Democratic presidential candidate uses his eighth policy announcement to focus on an area that he prioritized in Congress.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Monday morning released a plan to improve the lives of veterans, returning to an area of priority during his time in the U.S. House for his latest 2020 policy rollout.

In keeping with measures he supported in Congress, the plan calls for a "responsible end" to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — reinvesting $1 out of every $2 saved in veterans programs — and the creation of a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund for each future war. The fund would be paid for by a "war tax" on households without service members or veterans.

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