In his opening statement at a high-stakes public hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) addressed head-on recent suggestions from both Democrats and members of his own party that the committee was designed to target Clinton.
"Madam Secretary, I understand there are people, frankly, in both parties who have suggested that this investigation is about you," Gowdy said. "Let me assure you it is not, and let me assure you why it is not."
The chairman said the panel is focused on what happened before, during and after the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attacks that killed four Americans at compounds in Benghazi.
"Madam Secretary, not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your email," he added. "We signed up to investigate and therefore honor the lives of four people that we sent into a dangerous country to represent us. And to do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others."