Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) gave a strange interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball” Wednesday, initially saying he had already heard “99.99 percent” of what was revealed at the Benghazi hearing but later admitting he had never heard several pieces of information before.
“I would say 99.99 percent of what I heard, I’ve heard before,” he said. “I basically think that the Republicans are trying to keep this issue going and not dealing with reform, which is what we want.”
But two questions later, Chris Matthews, while discussing what he earlier called “this thing called Benghazi,” asked him about foreign service officer Gregory Hicks’ 2 a.m. phone conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and whether he had heard about their dialogue, in which Hicks briefed her about the search for Ambassador Chris Stevens and the need to evacuate.
Cummings had not, and he also said he had no idea what fellow witness Mark Thompson would say at the hearing, further refuting his earlier claim that he’d heard practically all of Wednesday’s testimony already.
“No,” Cummings said. “I had not heard with regard to him in specific, her talking to him. Keep in mind, Chris, that the Republicans on other issues have kept a lot from us. Keep in mind, Mr. Thompson, one of their witnesses today, we had never gotten a syllable from him. Not one word. We didn’t even know what he was going to talk about whatsoever, and he was deliberately held from us. That’s no way to run a hearing.”
Later, Politico reporter Ginger Gibson discussed Hicks’ testimony that Clinton was the reason Stevens was in Benghazi to begin with, telling him it needed to be a permanent post and that Stevens said he would make it happen.
This, too, was new to Cummings, who said, “I have not heard that before. That is one thing I had not heard up until today.”
Gibson also told Matthews that Hicks delivered one of the most detailed outlines heard to date of what happened that night in Libya. Hicks’ testimony that troops could have arrived to the compound by 1:45 a.m. the night of the attack, and later his description of being stunned and embarrassed by Susan Rice’s Sunday talk show appearances blaming the terrorist attacks on a response to a YouTube video, were also new insights into Benghazi Wednesday.
Cummings did, however, deliver a line at the hearing that many have heard before, when he told one of the witnesses that “death is a part of life.”