Trey Gowdy Will Head Up the Benghazi Select Committee

But Democrats haven’t committed to participating in it.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) speaks about immigration during a news conference on Capitol Hill, April 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to discuss immigration control issues that are before Congress. 
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
May 5, 2014, 10:55 a.m.

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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