Throwback Thursday: Mike Pompeo Said in 2016 Closed Door Congressional Interviews Were ‘Much More Effective’


It’s funny how opinions change when the times and the political circumstances do. Republicans are outraged by the closed door interviews with the witnesses for the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, but as they try to disrupt the process by barging into secure hearings, they might be forgetting that they used to support these kinds of closed door interviews in the past.

When Mike Pompeo spoke to C-SPAN once in early 2016, the Kansas congressman and future secretary of state defended the House Select Committee on Benghazi for the closed-door interviews they conducted while investigating the attack. As Pompeo explained why Hillary Clinton gave a public hearing on this matter, he said that “it was the committee’s intention under Chairman [Trey] Gowdy to conduct all of these in a way that didn’t attempt to embarrass anyone, didn’t attempt to grandstand, or create theatrics.”

“Our goal was fact finding. And five minutes of questions by a member of Congress and then rotating to the next one is not a very conducive way to quickly garner information and have a conversation in a setting where you can really engage. We felt like these closed door interviews were a much more effective way to get the facts for the American people. We would have done the same, I suspect, with Secretary Clinton, but she refused to testify absent it being a public hearing.”

As Pompeo alluded to, Gowdy, the former South Carolina representative and chairman of the Benghazi committee, similarly defended private hearings in 2015 by saying they “always produce better results.”

“I can just tell you that of the 50-some odd interviews we have done thus far, the vast majority of them have been private,” the former congressman said in an interview with Chuck Todd. “And you don’t see the bickering among the members of Congress in private interviews.”

Watch above (the relevant portion is at 16:50), via C-SPAN.

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: