Clinton’s 3am Call

Well, technically 2 am:

[Gregory Hicks] testified that, from on the ground in Libya where he had been among the last people to speak to Ambassador Stevens before he was killed, he spoke with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directly by phone at 2 a.m. Benghazi time. He briefed her on the terrorist attack — it was never regarded as anything but a terrorist attack — and on the then-ongoing search for Ambassador Stevens, who was feared to be at a hospital controlled by terrorists (to whom Hicks referred, in his testimony, as “the enemy”).

It’s pretty clear to me that by now this is all about wounding Clinton for 2016, when she would be a formidable opponent for the GOP, which lacks anyone close to her stature or popularity, except for Christie, who is now being purged. But it seems to me the kind of wound designed to rile up Hillary-haters in the base rather than moderates in the middle. And make no mistake: Fox’s new-found love for Hillary was all about stopping Obama. Ailes will turn on a dime and demonize her as effectively as the campaign against her in the 1990s. Mike Crowley sizes up the stakes for Clinton:

Whether or not Republicans intended it, the shadow of national politics loomed over Wednesday’s hearing. Hillary Clinton completed a generally well-reviewed tenure of Secretary of State, as evidenced by her sky-high public approval ratings. But Benghazi is a clear black mark on her Foggy Bottom record, one that could haunt Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. Conservatives seized on Hicks’s testimony that, in a call with Clinton on the fateful night, he told her that a terrorist attack was underway–a fact that was slow to appear in the administration’s public rhetoric. Still, despite repeated discussion about what Clinton knew and when she knew it, no smoking gun emerged from Wednesday’s hearing, leading one Congressional Democrat to dismiss questions about her role as a “witch hunt.”

But a member of Hillaryland has suddenly entered the spotlight:

[Hicks] charged that Clinton’s key State Department lieutenant and longtime family retainer, Cheryl Mills, made a concerted effort to block him from meeting with a Congressional delegation and that he had never been interviewed by the FBI in connection to the attack. Hicks said that he had been demoted after asking too many questions of his superiors about their response to Benghazi.

Republicans repeatedly raised the fact that Mills, a former deputy White House counsel and Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, personally called Hicks to express that she was upset that he had met with Rep. Jason Chaffetz without a lawyer present. So was the fact that administration lawyers had told Hicks and the Regional Security Officer not to speak with congressional investigators, as well as Hicks’ claim that he briefed Clinton the night of the attack and characterized it as an act of terror. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio referred to Mills’ as Clinton’s “fixer” and “as close as you can get to Secretary Clinton.”

The above video shows an interview with Pat Smith, the mother of one of the four consulate victims. The father of the slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods is also making the rounds:

When I was approached by Hillary Clinton at the coming home ceremony of the bodies at Andrews Air Force base and she said we are going to go out and we are going to prosecute that person who made the video, I knew that she wasn’t telling the truth, and I think the whole world knows that now.