Despite Select Committee, Issa Pushes Forward With His Own Benghazi Investigation

The House Oversight chairman issued another subpoena Thursday to Secretary of State John Kerry.

House Oversight And Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa questions members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during a hearing December 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. In October the four commissioners sent a letter White House Chief of Staff William Daley expressing "grave concerns" that NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko's deficiencies as a leader could compromise nuclear safety.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
May 15, 2014, 10:57 a.m.

Just days after the House voted to im­pan­el a se­lect com­mit­tee to in­vest­ig­ate the Sept. 11, 2012, at­tacks on the U.S. Con­su­late in Benghazi, House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dar­rell Issa signaled that he will con­tin­ue his own sep­ar­ate in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the at­tacks.

The Cali­for­nia Re­pub­lic­an on Thursday is­sued an­oth­er sub­poena to Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry, call­ing on the former sen­at­or — who was serving in the Sen­ate at the time of the at­tack — to ap­pear be­fore the Over­sight Com­mit­tee on May 29. Earli­er this month, the same day that House Speak­er John Boehner an­nounced his in­ten­tion to form a se­lect com­mit­tee on the mat­ter, Issa is­sued a sub­poena re­quir­ing Kerry to ap­pear be­fore the com­mit­tee on May 21, but changed the date due to a con­flict with Kerry’s sched­uled trip to Mex­ico that week.

“The State De­part­ment had dis­cussed May 29 as a pos­sible al­tern­at­ive date and that’s when Sec­ret­ary Kerry will be ob­lig­ated to ap­pear — fur­ther ac­com­mod­a­tion will not be pos­sible,” Issa said in a state­ment. “Ab­sent an as­ser­tion of ex­ec­ut­ive priv­ilege, the State De­part­ment has a leg­al ob­lig­a­tion to fully and com­pletely com­ply.”

Boehner said at the time that he sup­ports Issa’s sub­poena, and spokes­man Mi­chael Steel con­firmed Thursday that that re­mains the case.

Issa said he is call­ing on Kerry to an­swer ques­tions about why the State De­part­ment did not hand over to the com­mit­tee cop­ies of emails out­lining the White House’s in­volve­ment in shap­ing talk­ing points around the Benghazi at­tack, but did re­lease them later un­der a Free­dom of In­form­a­tion Act re­quest.

Those ques­tions are likely to play a ma­jor role in the se­lect com­mit­tee’s in­quiry as well, and Kerry could find him­self testi­fy­ing on the is­sue be­fore both groups.

Over­sight Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Eli­jah Cum­mings, D-Md., ex­pressed out­rage Thursday that Issa was mov­ing for­ward with the Benghazi in­vest­ig­a­tion. “Just one week after Speak­er Boehner said he wanted a single se­lect com­mit­tee con­duct­ing this in­vest­ig­a­tion, Chair­man Issa is­sued a new sub­poena today for Sec­ret­ary Kerry to testi­fy be­fore the Over­sight Com­mit­tee. I don’t know if this is Chair­man Issa’s at­tempt to re­in­sert him­self in­to this in­vest­ig­a­tion after the Speak­er re­moved him, but this looks more and more like the ‘sideshow’ and ‘cir­cus’ Speak­er Boehner said he would not tol­er­ate,” Cum­mings said in a state­ment, re­fer­ring to Boehner’s com­ments on the how the se­lect com­mit­tee should con­duct it­self.

Boehner has said re­peatedly that his de­cision to form a se­lect com­mit­tee chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has noth­ing to do with Issa’s lead­er­ship or the Over­sight Com­mit­tee’s in­vest­ig­a­tion.

What We're Following See More »
Clapper: ISIS Will Try to Attack U.S. This Year
1 days ago

“Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a congressional panel today. Clapper added that “al-Qaida, from which the Islamic State spun off, remains an enemy and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea, which also is ramping up its nuclear program.”

CBC PAC to Endorse Clinton This Morning
5 hours ago

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton this morning, and “nearly a dozen CBC colleagues will descend on” South Carolina next week in advance of that state’s important primary. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the highest ranking black member of Congress, reversed his earlier position of neutrality, saying he’ll make a decision “later in the week.” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has pointed out that the CBC PAC is not the same things as the CBC itself, while the Intercept notes that 11 of the 20 board members of the PAC are lobbyists.

Senate Votes 96-0 to Sanction North Korea
4 hours ago

In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Senate echoed the House’s move last month to stiffen sanctions against North Korea. The bill “would sanction anyone who engages in, facilitates or contributes to North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities undermining cyber security and the provision of materials for such activities.” Senate Democrats said they expect the president to sign the bill. In related news, after South Korea suspended operations at a jointly run power station in the North, Pyongyang declared the area a military zone and cut off a hotline between the two countries.

How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
4 hours ago

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
3 hours ago

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”