Hillary Clinton says the Republican-led House panel that investigated the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attack found nothing different than previous investigations, in its final report issued Tuesday.
Clinton spoke at a campaign stop in Denver where she wanted to promote new education proposals. But the question on reporters' minds was her reaction to the Benghazi report.
Clinton said no one has lost more sleep than she has over the attack in Libya that killed four American diplomats. It took place while she was secretary of State, and Republicans have long criticized her handling of the attack. Via NPR:
The 800-page report found that despite President Obama and then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's "clear orders," the military failed to immediately send a force to Benghazi and that nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed — almost eight hours after the attacks began.
The committee "found nothing, nothing to contradict the conclusions of the independent accountability board," that previously investigated the attack, she said.
The committee faulted the Obama administration for lax security and a slow response to the attacks, but it produced no new allegations about Clinton. Again, via NPR:
The report adds that while State Department security at the compound was "woefully inadequate," Clinton herself "never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi." Clinton was also "active and engaged" on the night of the attacks and in subsequent days, saying she was in touch with the president, the CIA director, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and others in the hours following the attacks.
"I'll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it's time to move on," Clinton said in Denver.
Minority Democrats released their own report on Monday, concluding that the Department of Defense "could not have done anything differently" on the day of the attack.
Here's the Clinton campaign's full public statement:
"After more than two years and more than $7 million in taxpayer funds, the Committee report has not found anything to contradict the conclusions of the multiple, earlier investigations. This report just confirms what Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and even one of Trey Gowdy's own former staffers admitted months ago: this Committee's chief goal is to politicize the deaths of four brave Americans in order to try to attack the Obama administration and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign."
Here's part of Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy's statement:
"I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”
The White House was also critical of the final report, saying that the assertion the military was too slow to respond to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi has already been "debunked."
Promotes Education Policies
Clinton was in Denver to promote a package of education proposals aimed at easing college student debt and encouraging access to technology learning.
One proposal would help people refinance their student loans. "We’re going to let young people who want to start something new defer your federal student loan payments for up to three years, so you won’t pay a dime on whatever loans you have for three years," Clinton said.
A portion of student loan debt would be forgiven for those “who get an enterprise going.”
"We want to forgive a portion of your debt because you’ve become a job creator, and we need more job creators, and we need more young people starting business, startups, and other kinds of opportunities," she said. "The burden of student debt is not only an individual burden that affects your life choices, it’s an economic burden. $1.2 trillion in student debt – think of how more productive that money could be spent."
Clinton said she also aims to ”make sure every student gets a chance to learn computer science before they graduate from high school.” She said more needs to be done to ensure technology learning is being fostered at all schools, not just those in wealthy districts.
“There is such a divide,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking. Some of you may have had schools where you really got exposed to technology, where you had a chance to both learn on your own and be guided on your learning. But I bet a lot of you didn’t. We can no longer tolerate that.”
Her plan would "keep America on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. It is one of our biggest assets, and I want it to be democratized. I want more people in more places to feel that their future lies in STEM, in technology, in helping to create the jobs that we’re going to attract," she said.
Clinton’s Denver visit comes a few days before Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Western Conservative Summit here, and she took the opportunity to take a shot at the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
“Saying that you want to make America great again is code for saying we want to go back to the way it used to be,” she said of Trump's campaign slogan. “Forget about technology; forget about exclusivity; forget about giving everybody an opportunity to have a real shot at the best possible future. Well, that is not who we are as Americans,” Clinton said. “We don’t go back. We go forward. But, we’ve got go forward with intelligence and a real sense of purpose.”
CPR's Vic Vela contributed to this report.