— U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to work on Monday after a month of recovering from a stomach virus, a concussion, and a blood clot between her brain and skull.
Secretary Clinton chaired a morning staff meeting at the State Department where spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says she was greeted with a standing ovation and received the gift of an American football helmet with the State Department seal and a jersey with the number 112, signifying the number of countries Clinton has visited as Secretary of State.
"But then, being Hillary Clinton, she wanted to get right to business. So we do what we always do in that meeting, went around the room and she heard from everyone what they are working on and what is coming forward," she said.
Clinton heard about preparations for this week's visit to Washington by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. She also discussed the findings of an investigation into last year's attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Nuland says Clinton told her staff that she wants each of the report's recommendations "on its way to implementation" before her successor is sworn in.
President Barack Obama wants Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to be the new secretary of state when Clinton steps down.
Nuland says Clinton and Kerry have spoken nearly every day since the president made his choice public, and State Department officials are briefing Kerry in preparation for his confirmation hearing.
Nuland says Clinton will testify before Congress concerning the Benghazi attack while she is still secretary of state.
"Our expectation is that we will be able to sequence this so that she will testify as sitting secretary. We will also have a confirmation hearing. And all of this obviously be preparatory to a transition," she said.
Clinton is staying close to home so doctors can monitor blood thinners that are dissolving the clot behind her right ear. It is not likely she will travel internationally before she steps down.