Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave a moving defense of State Department officials in her impeachment testimony Friday, notably citing the 2012 Benghazi attacks that Republicans made so much hay of when in the House majority.
“And we are Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Patrick Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty—people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation’s foreign policy interests in Libya, eight years ago,” she said.
Though she only briefly mentioned the fatal attack, the line was pointed. The Benghazi hearings, which Republicans used to pummel then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for years, have become a catch-all example of serious foreign policy events twisted into political theater.
The chairman of the select committee, Trey Gowdy (R-SC), spent $7 million and two years on an investigation of the attack that had already been probed by nine other committees. The ultimate 800-page tome of a report failed to find direct blame with Clinton herself and revealed little new information in general. Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) candidly linked the Benghazi hearings to Clinton’s sinking poll numbers, as she was the then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
The subtle swipe may have resonated particularly with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the only Republican member of the current Intel Committee who sat on the Benghazi committee.
During her remarks, Yovanovitch also cited the diplomats held hostage in Tehran 40 years ago and the mysterious sonar attacks that injured state department officials in Cuba and China.
“We are people who repeatedly uproot our lives, who risk—and sometimes give—our lives for this country,” she said.