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State gives Benghazi panel 4,000 pages of new documents

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By Martin Matishak – 04/30/15 11:29 AM EDT

The chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday announced that the State Department has handed over 4,000 pages of new documents to the panel.

“The Benghazi Committee continues to build the most comprehensive and complete record on what happened before, during and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) said in a statement.”Contrary to those who said all had been asked and answered, the Benghazi Committee has shown there is more still for Congress to consider. The committee will provide the final, definitive accounting of what happened with regards to Benghazi, reaching conclusions based solely on facts,” he added.

The documents come from the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation into the deadly assault on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

They include, among other things, emails and interview summaries, according to a congressional source.

This is the first time the State Department has turned over ARB documents to Congress, the agency told the select committee.

“Getting this production from State’s Benghazi ARB is an important part of ensuring the committee has access to all the facts,” according to Gowdy.

The former federal prosecutor noted that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed State for the documents in 2013 and that the select panel is still waiting for additional records.

“I appreciate the historic nature of State’s document production and recognize the importance of State’s response,” Gowdy said. “It is my desire to see similar breakthroughs reached on the committee’s outstanding document requests and subpoenas. If State will work with the committee, we can expedite the pace of the committee’s work.”

The 12 members of the year-old select committee have asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before them twice in the next two months.

The first hearing, which may occur the week of May 18, will examine her use of a personal email server while acting as the nation’s top diplomat. The second, set to take place in June, will look at Clinton’s role pertaining to the deadly assault.

“Yes, the Select Committee has received the work papers of the ARB,” a Democratic committee aide told The Hill.

“Not surprisingly, the work papers support the unanimous findings of the Board, which identified no evidence to support claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, personally denied security requests, oversaw a covert weapons program, or any of the other wild claims Republicans have been making for months,” the aide added.

The news came the same day Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the panel’s top Democrat, chided the GOP for fundraising off the committee’s work.

A new online fundraising entity, called Stop Hillary PAC, has launched an online petition to support Gowdy’s work on the committee and halt Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Stop Hillary PAC was created for one reason only – to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States,” the committee’s web site states. “The bottom line is America can’t survive more Obama-era radical liberal policies implemented by a Bill and Hillary Clinton team back in the White House. Let’s stop Hillary Clinton now, together, before it’s too late. Because in 2016, it will be too late.”

Cummings said the “shameless new fundraising effort reveals just how closely intertwined the Benghazi Select Committee is with Republican political attacks against Hillary Clinton.”

“Raising political cash off the deaths of four brave Americans is offensive and sickening, and Chairman Gowdy should put an end to it immediately,” he added.

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