Donald Trump all but accused The New York Times Monday of participating in a cover up of the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya by publishing an article claiming al-Qaida was not involved and that an anti-Islam video may have contributed to the deadly assault, as the Obama administration initially claimed.
"It seems to be a total cover up," the entertainment and real estate billionaire said on "Fox & Friends" about the Times piece published over the weekend. "I read [the article] very closely. It just seems to be at odds with everything else that you've read over the last year."
The Times reported Saturday
that the attack on Sept 11, 2012 that left four Americans dead was caused, in part, by an American-made anti-Muslim video that set off an angry crowd initially. The newspaper also reported that no al-Qaida-affiliated or other terrorist groups participated in the attack, which the article claimed was carried out by members of various militia groups that had actually benefited from U.S. and NATO support during their overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Republicans and some people on the ground in Benghazi the night of the attack were critical of the article on Sunday talk shows.
Trump said during his appearance on Fox Monday that "nobody really understands the reason" for the Times story. But he ventured that it could be a "Hillary thing," suggesting the newspaper was attempting to help pave the way for a possible 2016 run for president by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who Republicans partly blame for security lapses at the Benghazi compound.
Last January, before leaving office, Clinton responded to questioning during a Republican-led hearing on Capitol Hill about how the attack started and who was responsible.
"What difference, at this point, does it make?" she said during one particular testy exchange with the panel.
On the Fox program, Trump wondered why those thought responsible for the attack have not been brought to justice, particularly if U.S. officials have identified some of them.
"We have their identity. We know who they are. We know where they are, and we don't go in and get them. So what is going on there?" he asked.
"It's such an amazing story, and such a sad story when you think of what happened. The fact that we were so unguarded and so vulnerable, and to have people killed like this, our ambassador and others killed like this, was terrible," Trump said, referring to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack.
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