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Mark Steyn On Hillary Clinton’s Performance At The Benghazi Hearing

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The transcript:

HH: As you know, there’s only one man in America that can bump Mark Steyn from the lead segment on a Thursday Hugh Hewitt Show, and that is the Donald, who did indeed lead off most of the first hour. Mark, I hope you do not resent me deeply for putting the number one interview and attraction and ratings booster in America ahead of you.

MS: You’re a loser, Hugh. Only a loser would put Donald Trump on before me.

HH: (laughing) Well, this loser’s got to focus on Hillary. I’ve got to quote to you first of all, Chuck Todd, all right, no apologist for the right wing. Chuck tweeted out earlier today Hillary has no good answers on Libya. My overriding impression of this, and it’s still going on, is that her head in the hand, woeful, weariness condescending is going to do her more damage even than the smoking gun email that she knew it was a terrorist attack. What do you think of this?

MS: Yeah, I think it does do damage, cumulatively, because evidently, people don’t believe what she said. You know, I thought the comment that was made, that the committee had had the effect of reducing her poll numbers, was stupid that Kevin what’s-his-name said. I thought that was a stupid thing. But the, the fact of the matter is that what’s so horrible about this is that she chose to politicize it from the moment it was happening, even as it was underway. In other words, in the afternoon of September 11th, when it was 9:00 in the evening in Benghazi, she was already politicizing it. And I think it was damaging that on September 12th, she told not only the president of Libya and the prime minister of Egypt, but also her own family members that it was a terrorist attack. And yet, there she was on September 14th at Andrews Air Force Base over the coffins of the dead lying to Tyrone Woods’ family when she told them we’re going to get that guy who made the video, and we’re going to have him arrested and prosecuted. So she, and again, I thought this point did come out clearly that the people who were lied to here, obviously the families of the dead were lied to directly, but she tells the truth to the government of Libya. She tells the truth to the government of Egypt. But she lies to the people to whom she is meant to be a public servant, the American people. She lied to the American people. The Egyptian prime minister and the Libyan president know the truth, but lies are all that’s good enough for the American people.

HH: In case people are just tuning in, I have isolated thus far, and there may be more, key exchanges. This is Jim Jordan speaking to her directly about the smoking guns, Congressman from Ohio. Play the Jordan clip.

JJ: In that email you sent to your family, here’s what you said at 11:00 that night, approximately one hour after you told the American people it was a video, you say to your family two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group. So you tell the American people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story. Also, on the night of the attack, you had a call with the president of Libya. Here’s what you said to him. Ansar al-Sharia is claiming responsibility. It’s interesting. Mr. Khattala, one of the guys arrested and charged, actually belonged to that group. And finally, and most significantly, the next day, within 24 hours, you had a conversation with the Egyptian prime minister. You told him this. We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest. Let me read that one more time…

HH: Mark Steyn, that is damning.

MS: Yes, it is damning, and as I said, it’s particularly damning when you know that two days later, she looked the parents of Tyrone Woods, who died on a thankless bit of barbarous sod in an imploded state that she made, who died, gave his life to save other people on the roof of that building, in the early hours of Benghazi, she looked his parents in the eyes and said we’re going to have that video maker arrested. Do you know what the issue for me in this election is? You know, you can have philosophical discussions about left and right, and conservatism and liberalism. And as I’ve said to you before, the Swedes come by their liberalism more or less honestly, so do the Norwegians. It’s the corruption here. This woman is corrupt, and she, and at a critical moment on a critical date in American history, she opened her mouth and vomited forth a sewer of lies that everybody else is supposed to just try and swim their way through to find out the reality of what went on. And if you’re a foreign government leader, you know the truth. If you’re the American people, you get lied to.

HH: And here is the second takeaway from today. This comes from my friend, Mike Pompeo, a West Point grad and a Harvard Law grad, and he knows how to pile up the evidence, and he did it right here in this exchange with the Secretary.

MP: Do you know how many security requests there were in the 1st quarter of 2012?

HRC: For everyone or for Benghazi?

MP: For, I’m sorry, yes, ma’am, related to Benghazi and Libya. Do you know how many there were?

HRC: No, I do not know.

MP: Ma’am, there were just over a hundred-plus. In the 2nd quarter, do you know how many there were?

HRC: No, I do not.

MP: Ma’am, there were 172ish. Might have been 171 or 173. That’s…how many were there in July and August, and then that week and a few days before the attacks, do you know?

HRC: There were a number of them. I know that.

MP: Yes, ma’am, 83, by our count. That’s over 600 requests. You’ve testified here this morning that you had none of those reach your desk. Is that correct also?

HRC: That’s correct.

MP: Madame Secretary, Mr. Blumenthal wrote you 150 emails. It appears from the materials that we’ve read that all of those reached your desk.
HH: What do you think of that, Mark Steyn?

MS: Yeah, I thought that, I mean, I found the warmup to that desperate, not necessarily just the Democrats, but some of the less effective Republican questioners, too. But this was a real forensic, prosecutorial approach. And it’s absolutely damning. She said in all of her lead up, Chris Stevens is her friend. Chris Stevens was not only her friend, but he was the biggest expert on Libya, and what was happening in Libya, and the new Libya. Yet Chris Stevens couldn’t get hold of his boss, and Sid Blumenthal, who isn’t anybody, and as far as is known has never set foot in Libya, was able to get contact with Hillary Clinton whenever he wanted. And that’s a key point. She was like a, she was like a sort of, occasionally when they bring in Bono to edit a special edition of Time Magazine or something, this was how she ran the Department of State. She was like the celebrity head of it, that none of the real people, the real people working in the cause of America’s diplomatic interests, could ever get hold of her. And that’s ultimately what cost him his life.

HH: When she said, earlier today, she said I’ve lost more sleep than everyone on this committee over this, and I just made a tweet. I don’t believe that. I mean, I just don’t believe that for a moment. Do you believe that, Mark Steyn?

MS: No, I don’t. I think you have to be very heartless about this, and this is why that Kevin McCarthy quote was so stupid. Chris Stevens was her guy. He agreed with her on the Arab Spring, and the new Libya, and all the other nonsense. He wasn’t my guy. He and I wouldn’t have agreed on 3% of anything going on in the world today. But when it came to it, she was willing not only to let him die, but dishonor him in death. She’s responsible. You know, when you decide, Libya was Hillary’s war. And she had a responsibility to secure American facilities there, and at the very least, not to dishonor those who sacrificed their lives there.

HH: I’ll be right back with Mark Steyn. Don’t go anywhere, America.

— – – – —

HH: Mark, when I talked to Donald Trump at the beginning of the show, I played for him that exchange which we just heard between Mike Pompeo and Hillary Clinton about the number of emails that got to her from Sidney Blumenthal. And Donald Trump said wait, wasn’t he supposed to have been banished? Wasn’t he supposed to have had nothing to do with this administration? And the answer is yes. And I asked him if anyone gets 150 emails to you, Donald Trump, is he a confidant? And he said of course, he is. And he was sort of amazed that someone whom she had committed to the President not to have a role in the administration, had a back door to her in a completely duplicitous fashion towards Obama.

MS: Yeah, yeah, I mean, which his absolutely amazing. I mean, what is interesting is the degree that emerges from these emails as they’re released is that nobody who matters, either in her own department or around the world, because other foreign ministers can’t get in touch with her when they need to, and other foreign ministers begin to figure out that the lines of communication are insecure. Tony Blair can’t get ahold of her. Nobody who matters in the world can get hold of her. Yet somebody that she has given assurances to the President is not going to be part of her team is one of the handful of people, the handful of people on the planet who have privileged access to her. And I think it is this, I think it is this interesting, inverted world that Hillary Clinton lives in. There is a real place called Benghazi. It’s a real town that is a hellhole. In part, it’s a hellhole because of decisions she made. And as a consequence, real people die. Their lives are over. Their children will never know their parents. There are real world consequences. But to her, what matters is the political framing that she can construct around this, you know, this is just a Republican effort to get to her. And you know, Henry Wotten’s famous line was that an ambassador is a man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country. And diplomacy, Hillary Clinton State Department-style, has entirely inverted that so that what matters in the immediate hours, even as Benghazi is unfolding, is deciding on the lies you’re going to tell not foreigner, as Sir Henry Wotten said, the lies you are going to tell your own people. And it’s actually a remarkable glimpse of the way Hillary looks at it, and actually of the way she would conduct foreign affairs were she to become president.

HH: It would be for the benefit of the Clinton Foundation, writ large. That’s what it would be. Let me ask you finally, Mark Steyn, I talked about this with E.J. Dionne just before you came on, confirmation bias rules on Twitter today. Everyone who loves Hillary is saying she’s doing wonderful, and everyone who loathes Hillary is saying that she’s very cold, lying, and has been caught with a smoking gun. They’re not very high on some of the Republicans who have fallen on their face as well, but the overarching conclusion is that she’s damned, damned, damned as a liar, liar, liar. Will anyone’s opinion change? Or are we all in a giant Kabuki, pre-arranged, pre-choreographed show?

MS: Well, I think to a certain extent, there isn’t going to be a smoking gun. But what you see in the poll numbers is just this terrible attrition that people don’t trust her, people don’t believe she’s honest. And I think at a certain level, Democrats are quite up front about that. They just don’t care about it. And they’re not interested in whether she’s honorable or not. I remember being told years ago at the start of the impeachment trial, I arrived in Washington, a largely foreign city to me, and I had a cup of tea with a big Democrat insider, and I pointed out to him why was it of the lefties, why was it only foreigners like Christopher Hitchens who were disgusted by the President? And he said to me, well, Bill Clinton is our guy, and we’re sticking with him. And I couldn’t understand that. And of course, they were right. He was their guy, and they stuck with him, and he won. And similarly, they think they can do that with her. But I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s going to work this time, because even if you removed every single damaging scandal from around Hillary’s neck, and she’s quite competent in her answers today. She was quite effective. In her best moments, she was confident and informed and effective. But when you see her on the stump in Iowa and New Hampshire and everywhere else, people don’t connect with her, and it’s not going to be enough this time.

HH: And there’s nothing she can do about this, is there? I mean, I don’t know of anyone who is going to change their opinion on Hillary Clinton between now and next year.

MS: Well, I think there will be. I think there will be people who just, I think to a certain extent, particularly on the Democrat side, you know, Obama was a romance for them. They fell in love with the idea of Obama. And regardless of what the reality was, the idea was sufficiently fresh that they were starry-eyed, and he sort of wafted across the finish line.

HH: But not with her.

MS: And I don’t think, it’s hard to have a romance at the idea of Hillary. When you look at these sort of, you just watch the hearings with the sound turned down, the condescending pictures…

HH: Yeah.

MS: …the expressions, the boredom, the sneering looks, you can’t have, you can’t fall in love with Hillary this late in the game.

HH: Thank you, Mark Steyn. That’s absolutely true.

End of interview.


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