CNN's Cuomo Pushes Back Against Sen. Rubio's Already-Debunked Benghazi Falsehoods

Cuomo Disputes Allegation That Clinton Misled About Attackers' Motivations: “So Certainly It Wasn't A Lie, And She Was Following CIA Guidance”

From the October 29 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): Is all the media the same? 

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): No, of course not, all the media's not the same. But by and large, I think a great example of it is last week. There was this testimony before the Benghazi committee, and in that testimony it was revealed that Hillary Clinton knew early on and was telling her family and telling her friends that the attack on the consulate was by terrorists, Al Qaeda-like terrorists. And yet for a week, not just her, but a lot of people in the administration, were going around telling the families of the victims and the American public that it was due to a video. And the reason why they did that is because they were in the midst of the presidential election in which the president was arguing that Al Qaeda was defeated and on the run. And that reality of what truly happened in Benghazi, it countered that narrative. Well that was revealed last week, and yet the media around the country hailed her performance as incredible, the best week of her campaign. I thought it was the week she was exposed as lying about Benghazi. And it's going to be a major issue in this election. For me it was an example of the bias. 

CUOMO: But I'm saying -- first of all, you say all media is not the same. That's good to hear because it seemed like that last night coming from the panel. And again, I get why that plays well to partisans. But look, here's the situation. I've gone after what Hillary said in that hearing a lot and much to getting beaten up on Twitter as a result, but that's ok, it's part of the job. She says and Democrats and the administration say, no it wasn't a lie. She thought that's what it was. The CIA then came out with their rationales and changed their reckoning of what it was, and so she changed it. So certainly it wasn't a lie, and she was following CIA guidance. 

RUBIO: There wasn't a single person on the ground near that incident in Benghazi, which she had access to those people. There was not a single person on the ground in Benghazi who believed that it was a spontaneous uprising. Just the nature of the weaponrythat was brought to that attack, the swiftness of which it was conducted. There was no reports of protests in that area. Everybody on the ground knew that. All they had do was talk to people in Benghazi, which she could have done. Survivors and others who responded to the attack. And they could tell you that they knew that it was an organized and orchestrated effort. They also should have known because that consulate was already had come under a previous attack in the past. Not at that scale and scope but it had already come. And the Brits had left Benghazi. The Red Cross had closed its facilities. So it goes beyond just the lying. If that facility was going to remain open, which was questionable. But if it was going to remain open, it should have had a lot more security in place than it had. The compound was easily breached, and it led to the tragedy that occurred. 

CUOMO: That's a fair criticism. And you certainly understand the situation well and the policy considerations around it. But I'm just saying a big part of your campaign is saying, I'm a new generation. I'm different. I don't play the same games that these guys did. You showed it last night when Jeb Bush came at you. How can it be a lie if it is true that Hillary Clinton changed what she said about her understanding of why it happened because the CIA told her something different. Had you been in her position and the CIA said, 'No Secretary it wasn't terrorists, it was this spontaneous thing here and this is why we think it.' Would you have not followed them?

RUBIO: No. She consistently privately told people over and over again, including in the early aftermath of it, that this was led by Al Qaeda-like elements. There was never a single shred of evidence presented to anyone that this was spontaneous. And in fact, the CIA themselves understood that early on, irrespective of what the administration is telling you now. Beyond that, I would say that she went well beyond the period of time in which that was in question. She went past a week and was still saying that this was a spontaneous uprising because it furthered a political narrative that the administration had settled on. Maybe she was trying to be a team player, but I thought that was a moment where true leadership would have said no, these victims and their families -- the families of these victims deserve to know the truth, and so do the American people, and I'm not going to change what I believe to be true, or what there's doubts about even, based on some political narrative you're asking me to further. 


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