House Republicans have tapped South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy to head up a select committee to investigate Benghazi.
In a statement Monday, House Speaker John Boehner called Gowdy “as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come.” The former federal prosecutor is known for his aggressive style and dramatic questioning during congressional hearings.
“I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration,” Boehner said. “I plan to ensure he and his committee have the strongest authority possible to root out all the facts.”
The House is expected to vote to create the committee this week, perhaps as early as Thursday.
Democrats will whip against the vote to create the committee, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters Monday. But Hoyer wouldn’t indicate whether Democrats will want to be included in the committee.
“We haven’t seen the language of what they’re talking about,” Hoyer said. “We’ve made it pretty clear that we think this a political, not a substantive effort, and if they want to have a substantive effort than it ought to be an equally balanced committee so that this is not an exercise in partisanship.”
Boehner announced the creation of the committee last week. Additionally, the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena for Secretary of State John Kerry to appear before that panel May 21 to answer questions about how the Obama administration responded to the attack in Libya.
All of this raises Benghazi, which has turned into a favorite political issue of Republicans, to a new level of congressional scrutiny. The work of the committee will help keep the issue in the headlines in the height of midterm election season.
The flurry of new activity around investigating Benghazi comes on the heels of the release of an email, obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which Republicans point to as a “smoking gun” that the White House was involved in a cover-up. The email was sent by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes to then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, ahead of her scheduled appearances on several Sunday talk shows to discuss the attacks in Libya, and it suggests the White House had a role in shaping how Rice discussed the attacks.
But it’s unclear that lawmakers can actually dig up new information; Congress has already held numerous hearings delving into Benghazi, and Democrats are calling the select committee a waste of time and money.
“One thing this Congress is not short on is what happened before, during, and after the attacks on Benghazi,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”