Republicans on the House select committee investigating the Benghazi attack must strive to be courteous and objective when quizzing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said Rep. Tom Cole.
"They need to be particularly fair,'' the Oklahoma Republican told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"With all due respect to the U.S. Senate, I don’t think they did a very good job of asking questions when she was there last time."
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Clinton is expected to be subpoenaed by the newly formed committee headed by Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.
The panel has been roundly dismissed by many Democratic lawmakers as a ploy to hurt Clinton's presidential chances.
Not only must Clinton be handled carefully, but the hearing, which will delve into the tragic deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans — and a possible cover-up by the White House — must be held without histrionics, Cole believes.
"There’s a special burden on the Republicans ... If this becomes what appears to be a kangaroo court then that will backfire and will hurt us if it looks like we’re trying to exploit a national tragedy instead of getting to the bottom of it," he said.
"I would try to avoid looking like I was trying to impact [the] 2014 [elections], and honestly I would hope it doesn’t drag into 2016 too long.
"It needs to be professional, but needs to be careful not to overreach, [so that] any undecided, fair-minded person looking at it would say this was well done, this was appropriate, we learned some things we didn’t know."
He said the less participating lawmakers say when asking questions, the better.
"Don’t give a lot of histrionic speeches that lead into a question and eat up the clock. Just sit there and ask … straight, direct questions to whoever you bring in," Cole said.
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