During the 10th hour of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) seemed to have had enough.
On Thursday, Clinton appeared in front of the committee for a day-long back and forth with lawmakers. She fielded questions about the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, as well as her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
By 8 p.m., it appeared that Cummings’ patience was wearing thin.
His voice intensifying as he spoke, the congressman accused Republicans of using the committee to damage Clinton’s front-running campaign for president.
“I don’t know what we want from you,” Cummings said, throwing his hands in the air. “Do we want to badger you over and over again until you get tired, until we get a ‘Gotcha’ moment?”
“We’re better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign! That’s not what America is all about. So you can comment if you like. I just had to get that off of my chest,” Cummings said, as Democrats in the room applauded.
Clinton immediately thanked Cummings, proceeding to plead the committee to stop using Benghazi as a political weapon.
“I recognize that there are many currents at work in this committee. But I can only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship. At some point we have to do this,” Clinton said.
Earlier in the day, Cummings got into a heated exchange with committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) over Clinton’s relationship with a controversial ally and informal adviser.