Gowdy to Dems: 'At Least Let Us Have a Hearing Before You Judge It'

By Susan Jones | May 6, 2014 | 5:59 AM EDT

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former prosecutor, says it's no surprise to him that Democrats already are criticizing the select committee on Benghazi that he will chair.

Gowdy suggested that Democrats "at least let us have a hearing before you judge it. I mean, at least let the committee be constituted and the rules be adopted before you declare it to be a political exercise. That's not too much to ask, is it?"

Appearing on Fox News Monday night, Gowdy said Democrats "wouldn't like it if I cured malaria tonight -- I mean, because I'm a Republican. So, of course, they are going to be critical."

Gowdy said his committee will address "unanswered questions," including, "why our security profile was so low (in Benghazi) on the anniversary 9/11; why we didn't have any assets moving during the siege itself; and why the government can't be trusted to answer your questions completely and accurately in the aftermath."

Gowdy said a select committee -- on top of numerous other congressional hearings -- will make the investigation less fragmented.

"I can't even attend the Intel Committee hearings. I have no idea what they have uncovered. Just like they don't come to the OGR, the Oversight Committee. We need a list of the witnesses that have been talked to and which ones are left to be talked to. We need a list of the documents. And by the way, I'm not interested in redacted documents or an over classification. I want the documents. So I want all of the evidence. And then people can draw different conclusions from those facts in evidence. But you can't draw conclusions if you don't have all the facts. And what this committee is going to do is, once and for all, lay out all the facts and then your jury can draw whatever inferences and conclusions they want to."

Gowdy said House Speaker John Boehner "is going to give us whatever power we need to get to the bottom" of the attacks in Benghazi and the subsequent White House reaction -- blaming a video that had nothing to do with the attacks.

Gowdy said the select committee will not rely on any document summaries. And he said he doesn't know if documents may have been destroyed.

"I'm telling you this: If a document exists, regardless of classification, we need to have access to it. That does not necessarily mean that it will be public. But, as you noted, there is an over-classification to protect people's reputations and careers. And that is not a legitimate reason to classify a document, just because you are worried that it may hurt feelings or impact your career."

Gowdy said the House resolution establishing the select committee will probably have an end-date in it, so the investigation doesn't continue indefinitely.

(On Monday, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., warned Republicans against dragging out the investigation for political gain: "And yes, it should be out of the way before the 2016 elections are in high gear, there's no doubt about it," King said.)

Addressing the "politics" of the investigation, Gowdy said, "There are certain things in our culture that have to transcend politics. And I don't mean to sound naive, but the murder of four fellow Americans and an attack on a facility that is emblematic of our country should transcend politics.

"And I know that our fellow citizens can handle the truth, but only if they get access to it. They can draw their own conclusions about politics, who is at fault, who is not at fault? But they can't do it if they don't have access to all the documents and all the witnesses."