“Were you alone (at home)?” Roby asked.
“I was alone,” Clinton said.
“The whole night?” Roby asked.
“Well, yes, the whole night,” Clinton said with a laugh.
It was, The New York Times noted, “the first laugh in an otherwise heavy session.”
Roby was not amused, The Hill reported:
“I don’t know why that’s funny,” the Republican chided. “Did you have any in-person briefings? I don’t find it funny at all.”
Still chuckling, Clinton responded, “I’m sorry, a little note of levity at 7:15. Note it for the record.”
“The reason I say it’s not funny is because it went well into the night when our folks on the ground were still in danger, so I don’t think it’s funny to ask if you’re alone the whole night,” Roby replied.
“Clinton insisted that she had the needed equipment at home to stay in close contact with State Department officials,” The Hill report continues.
“I did not sleep all night. I was very much focused on what we were doing,” she said.
Roby grilled Clinton throughout the hearing.
At one point, Roby focused on an email sent between two Secretary of State workers in which they said they weren’t sure if Clinton knew the U.S. was still in Benghazi.
The email, as read by Roby, included the line “(Secretary Clinton) asked last week if we still have a presence in Benghazi – I think she would be upset to hear that yes we do but because we don’t have enough security (because) they are on lockdown.”
“This is very troubling to me,” Roby said. “It’s frustrating for us here on this panel to hear you in your opening statement talking about the responsibility you took for the State Department…and you’re brushing it off.”
Clinton denied she was unaware of the U.S. presence in Benghazi and said the two employees were not part of her staff but did work for the State Department.
“Of course I knew we had a presence in Benghazi,” Clinton responded.
“I hear what you’re saying but this email says something very, very different,” Roby said.
In the end, there were relatively few questions for the Democratic presidential front-runner about the specific events of Sept. 11, 2012, which Clinton said she continues to lose sleep over.
The hearing ended at 9 p.m., some 11 hours after it began, with some of the fiercest arguments of the day as Clinton and the House Benghazi Committee’s Republican chairman fought over the private email account she maintained as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat.
“I came here because I said I would,” an exhausted Clinton told Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, her chief interrogator. “I tried to answer your questions. I cannot do any more than that.”
Gowdy declared after the end of the session: “We keep going on.”
Al.Com/ The Associated Press
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