Julian Castro, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development whose name has been floated as a potential Hillary Clinton running mate, is calling the investigation into Clinton’s Benghazi-related emails a “witch hunt” and a “sideshow.”
“This thing has been studied to death by Republicans and Democrats,” Castro said of Benghazi during an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Several committees including in Congress that have all said, ‘Yes, of course what happened was tragic, but Secretary Clinton was not in any way at fault,’ and what you have here with these emails is basically a witch hunt,” he added.
The State Department Friday released 296 emails Clinton turned over in December related to Libya and the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Clinton sent and received the emails on her personal account, which was maintained on a private server. The email set-up has raised questions over whether Clinton had tried to keep emails she sent as secretary of state secret.
Because of his age — 40 — and his Hispanic heritage, Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, is considered to be an appealing vice presidential candidate on Clinton’s 2016 ticket. Though he denied Sunday that Clinton is considering him for the ticket, earlier this week, former HUD Sec. Henry Cisneros said that Castro was an early favorite.
In his interview, Castro defended Clinton further saying she has “already explained” her email set-up. He also said American voters don’t care “whether somebody had emails or didn’t have them.”
Castro also offered pointed remarks for Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican leading the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Gowdy “is very intentionally trying to manipulate this witch hunt to play politics,” Castro said.
Asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta whether he sends his government business-related emails on an official account, Castro said “that’s right.”