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Three things we need to hear from Petraeus

  • Members of Congress plan a 'big-time dive' on issues surrounding David Petraeus’ resignation
  • What questions do you hope Petraeus answers when he testifies on Friday?

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Three things we need to hear from Petraeus

David Petraeus breaks his silence to HLN’s Kyra Philips. Read her full description of their conversations right here.

Editor’s Note: Ryan Smith is a lawyer and anchor of Evening Express. You can watch him weeknights 5-7 p.m. ET on HLN.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus is set to testify at a closed-door session of Congress on Friday. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California tells CNN that his testimony will focus only on Benghazi and not the affair with Paula Broadwell. 

“Our hearings are on Benghazi and the intelligence that preceded Benghazi and the intelligence that determined the security,” she said.

Now, before Petraeus testifies, his lawyers could meet with members of Congress to discuss what is or is not fair game. Congress wants the retired general to be forthcoming about Libya, but they can’t just ask him any question. 

Watch: Who’s who in the Petraeus scandal

Why won’t he have to talk about the scandal? For Congress, that isn’t related to what happened in Benghazi. This is not a hearing on the scandal. It’s about the events leading up to and during the attack on the U.S. consulate. For Congress, at this time anyway, the scandal is simply not relevant to the attack.  Also, keep in mind that Petraeus is coming forward voluntarily. He cannot be forced to answer any questions that could incriminate him. It helps Petraeus’ case to come forward to answer questions from Congress, especially on whether he feels his staff did the right thing. 

If all questions were “fair game” on Friday, here are the three things I would want to hear:

What does he know about Paula Broadwell’s possible possession of classified military material at her home?  At some point, Petraeus should be questioned on every piece of information secured from that home, no matter how small. If she had confidential information in her possession, did she get it from David Petraeus?

Read: We answer your top 5 questions about the scandal

When did he write the letter to a D.C. Superior Court judge to boost the custody claims of Jill Kelley’s sister?  While off limits on Friday, it could point to Petraeus’ judgment. During an attack on Americans in a foreign country, was he distracted by helping a woman with her custody battle? On the flip side, if I was his lawyer, I would argue the letter took so little effort that it did not interfere with his duties; the CIA Director handles countless issues every day, including personal matters, and this, by no means, distracts him from his duty to the CIA. Also, there could be other explanations. For example, he could have dictated the letter at an earlier date.

Did he, at any time, disclose any information to Paula Broadwell? I wonder if Congress could try to ask this to ensure he did not share any information. It could be relevant. The statement a month ago by Broadwell that the four Americans were killed in an attempt to free Libyan men from a CIA annex is perplexing. It was denied by the CIA, but where did she get that information that was not “vetted”?  If it’s discovered she learned of this theory from Petraeus, could he have compromised the integrity of the office? 

What questions would you want him to answer during his testimony?

Watch HLN’s Evening Express 5-7 p.m. ET on HLN.

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