ABC's Sawyer Actually Grills Clinton on Benghazi: 'A Central Question of Leadership'

In clips of her interview with Hillary Clinton aired on Monday's Good Morning America, World News anchor Diane Sawyer was surprisingly tough on the issue of Benghazi: "Is there anything you personally should have been doing to make it safer in Benghazi?...I wonder if people are looking for a sentence that begins from you, 'I should have...' 'I should have...'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

After the clip, Sawyer explained to GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos: "So many questions on Benghazi because we know a lot of people think it's a central question of leadership if she runs for president."

Back in January of 2013, Sawyer touted Clinton's "fiery emotion" while testifying on the 2012 terrorist attack and proclaimed it to be "a valedictory that showed her indignation and emotion as she ends this tenure on the public stage."

After quotes about Benghazi from Clinton's memoir were leaked, fill-in anchor David Muir declared on the May 30 World News that the former secretary of state was "ready to fight back on Benghazi."

On Monday, Sawyer also teased an exchange in which she pressed Clinton on the millions she and husband Bill had made on the lecture circuit: "It has been reported you've made five million making speeches. The President's made more than $100 million....do you think Americans are going to understand five times the median income in this country for one speech?"

Clinton detailed the financial hardship of maintaining multiple homes:

Well, if you – you have no reason to remember, but we came out of White House not only dead broke but in debt. We had no money when we got there and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses....we had to pay off all our debts which was, you know, you had to make double the money, because of obviously taxes, and then pay off the debts, and get us houses...

After that portion of the interview played, Sawyer tried to soften it: "And she does make a lot of speeches for free, of course, to the groups she cares about so much."

Sawyer also previewed some of the fluff coming up in the full primetime special: "And I'm going to take you around her home, this home that she says is really a new sanctuary for her, for the first time in twenty years, as she lives her private life. So it's all coming up and we have some laughs about dealing with hair in the public life."


Here is a full transcript of the June 9 GMA segment:

7:00 AM ET TEASE:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Diane Sawyer is here with her exclusive no-holds-barred interview with Hillary Clinton. What she could have done differently in Benghazi, making millions after leaving the White House, and breaking her silence on Monica Lewinsky.

7:08 AM ET SEGMENT:

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to Hillary Clinton. Her new memoir, Hard Choices, is out tomorrow. Her exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer airs tonight on ABC. Diane joins us now with a look ahead. And, Diane, let's get right to it. There was no daylight on the Bergdahl issue from President Obama, but you pushed her hard on those Benghazi attacks that cost four American lives.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: One-On-One With Hillary Clinton; 2016, Benghazi & Monica Lewinsky]

DIANE SAWYER: Is there anything you personally should have been doing to make it safer in Benghazi?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, what I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security-
 
SAWYER: But personally, that you personally-

CLINTON: Well, that is personal, though, Diane. I mean, I am not – I'm not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That's why we hire people who have that expertise.

SAWYER: I wonder if people are looking for a sentence that begins from you, "I should have..." "I should have..."

SAWYER: And you are going to hear what she said to that tonight. So many questions on Benghazi because we know a lot of people think it's a central question of leadership if she runs for president.

And of course, we go back and forth on whether you really think, really think she hasn't decided yet, coming up tonight. Does she want to leave this life of advocacy for girls? And at the same time the privileges she sheds of doing her own scheduling, which includes so many speeches. And I think a lot of people, George, haven't focused on the fact that she and President Clinton are making a lot of money.

SAWYER [TO CLINTON]: It has been reported you've made five million making speeches. The President's made more than $100 million.

CLINTON: Well, if you – you have no reason to remember, but we came out of White House not only dead broke but in debt. We had no money when we got there and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education, you know, it was not easy.

Bill has worked really hard and it's been amazing to me. He's worked very hard, first of all, we had to pay off all our debts which was, you know, you had to make double the money, because of obviously taxes, and then pay off the debts, and get us houses, and take care of family members.

SAWYER: But do you think Americans are going to understand five times the median income in this country for one speech?

CLINTON: Well, let me put it this way, I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company, as so many people who leave public life do.

SAWYER: And she does make a lot of speeches for free, of course, to the groups she cares about so much. But tonight, George, we will talk about everything. Everything. We're going to talk about the marriage. We'll talk about Monica Lewinsky. We're going to talk about age. And I'm going to take you around her home, this home that she says is really a new sanctuary for her, for the first time in twenty years, as she lives her private life. So it's all coming up and we have some laughs about dealing with hair in the public life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A perennial problem.

SAWYER: Yeah, we know about that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So a lot coming up. We'll see a lot on World News, we'll see of course much more, 9:00 Eastern...

SAWYER: That's right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...right here on ABC. Thank you.

And of course Hillary Clinton will be here live with Robin tomorrow right here on GMA.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC