During today’s press briefing, Victoria Nuland deferred to the Congressional committees to announce the schedules for Secretary Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi and offered some insight as to what her testimony will include. In addition, she provided a peek at some of Mme. Secretary’s bilaterals this week. Here is a snip of the transcript.
QUESTION: Do you have any update on when the Secretary might testify? And could you also tell us how her preparation is going, what she’s doing to prepare for that testimony on Capitol Hill?
MS. NULAND: Well, with regard to the consultations that we’ve had with the Congress on the timing, I’m going to defer to the two committees to announce the hearings when they’re ready to do so. But we did talk about these happening after both houses come back into session next week. So we will defer to them on any formal announcements.
Secretary is doing what she always does. She is going through all the steps that this Department is taking to implement the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board. I think you’re aware that – well, first and foremost, as you know, she’s made a commitment that all 29 recommendations will be implemented and that the implementation should be well in train before she finishes here. So I think she’ll want to update the committees on implementation.
As you know, Deputy Secretary Nides is leading an implementation process here in the building. I think he’s having his 11th meeting with the various stakeholders this week to get that work – as many of the short-term recommendations completed as possible, the medium-term ones well underway, and the longer-term ones well set up. So I think you’ll hear a good accounting from her on all those things when she testifies.
QUESTION: And this is an important week because it’s the week before the inauguration. I think you were mentioning that perhaps we might see some meetings that she would have with foreign visitors. Can you – is there any schedule information that you can share with us at this point about what the Secretary will do this week?
MS. NULAND: I think we did put out some scheduled things over the course of the week.
QUESTION: Yeah, you did, but I mean anything –
MS. NULAND: She’s going to see Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia tomorrow. She’s also seeing her Colombian counterpart. I think that one is tomorrow as well. As we said, the Somali President will be here on Thursday. We’ve already announced the visit of the new Foreign Minister – Foreign Secretary of Japan – Mr. Kishida will be here on Friday. So it’s a busy diplomatic week.
QUESTION: So these would be more – let’s call them working on the relationship issues in the relationship, as opposed to farewell, right?
MS. NULAND: Oh, all of these are working visits of foreign ministers or heads of state continuing the bilateral and regional work that we do together, yes.
Edited to add:
Apparently Congress was willing to accommodate the State Department by not waiting to be back in session. CNN’s Jill Dougherty just posted this on Facebook.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the Committee on Wednesday, January 23 to answer questions about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. In the attack, terrorists killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.