Monday, May 9, 2016

The Benghazi Committee Is Two Years Old — Here’s How Seriously Democrats Have Taken It

The House Select Committee on Benghazi was formed two years ago as of Sunday.

It began a fierce divide between congressional Democrats and Republicans over the merits of the committee, charged with investigating the death of four Americans on September 11, 2012.

On Sunday, the committee’s ranking member, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, issued a statement of disapproval:

“Two years ago, I decided to participate in this investigation because we needed someone in the room to defend the truth. Two years and millions of dollars later, Republicans have lost any semblance of credibility as they continue to drag this out as close as they can to the election.”

Cummings’ statement coincided with a list of the “top ten low-lights from the Benghazi Committee,” which rehashed some of the various interviews and hearings conducted by the committee.

Eight of the ten “low-lights” referenced Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who was head of the State Department at the time of the attacks. The committee interviewed Clinton in October for nearly 11 hours.

Hillary Clinton testifies before the Benghazi Committe on Oct. 22, 2015 — Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton testifies before the Benghazi Committee on Oct. 22, 2015 — Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

But it is not about Clinton, according to Benghazi Committee chairman and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy:

“Anyone looking for a report focused on the former Secretary of State will be disappointed. This investigation is not about her, and the report will not be about her either.”

One of Cummings’ main objections to the committee concerns the $7 million in expenditures he believes were solely spent to discredit the Clinton presidential campaign.

But $2.3 million of the $7 million were spent by Democratic members of the committee. Further, Democrats doled out $33,600 in bonuses to committee staffers at the end of each year.

In addition, Democrats have not requested any documents or witnesses from the Obama administration.

Another one of Cummings’ issues with the GOP side of the committee are the withholding of certain interview transcripts, which was echoed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a statement:

“Instead of presenting the truth, Republicans have purposefully leaked incomplete and misleading testimony to serve their partisan narrative.”

“They have cut Democrats out of the process and abandoned any pretense of credibility.”

But as Independent Journal Review reported in March, Gowdy said the Democrats could have complete access to all transcripts on the condition they did not prematurely leak them to the press:

“[I] offered Mr. Cummings total, unfettered access to, and control of, transcripts if he simply agreed he would not selectively leak them. He would not give me that assurance.”

According to a Benghazi Committee Republican, the Democrats’ “frantic, false attacks are proof they’re clearly nervous about the new information committee investigators have uncovered.”

Gowdy blames the committee’s slow process on the Obama administration. Citing the State Department’s refusal to grant certain information, Gowdy said in an interview :

“There continues to be time wasted negotiating with executive branch entities who do not want to give us what I believe Congress is entitled to.”

The State Department maintains that such requests are “unprecedented.” One State Department official said “Congress has never subpoenaed the working files or testimony from an independent [investigation],” adding:

“We have made clear our concerns about the chilling impact this disclosure will likely have on the work of future reports.”

Two years later, the partisan divide on the committee remains sharper than ever. “[Democratic committee members] have been singularly obsessed with politics, as the public will soon learn from the redundant, rote questions they ask witnesses,” Gowdy said.

“Despite Democrat obstruction, the committee has identified new facts that significantly impact our understanding of what happened before, during, and after Benghazi.”

The post The Benghazi Committee Is Two Years Old — Here’s How Seriously Democrats Have Taken It appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

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