Fox News’ right-leaning audience and its liberal critics don’t agree on much, but both were expecting that Hillary Clinton would get plenty of questions on the Benghazi attack when she agreed to appear on the network Tuesday night — and Fox did not disappoint.
More than a third of the 30-plus minute live joint interview with anchors Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren was devoted to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the diplomatic compound in Libya. All came from Baier. He dove right in with his first question and didn’t let up on Benghazi for the next eight minutes.
“I have some more specific Benghazi questions. You may have imagined that,” he said at one point midway through the segment.
Clinton stood her ground throughout and did not deviate meaningfully from previous answers she’s given.
Next up was Van Susteren, who steered clear of the attack and instead asked Clinton about Afghanistan, the release of former Taliban prisoner Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and Iraq. Clinton called then-Sen. Joe Biden’s 2006 argument to partition Iraq into three states “creative,” but “impossible” at the time. She did not outright dismiss it, however.
After that, three minutes for commercial break.
When they returned, it was back to Baier and back to Benghazi. “Two quick follow-ups on Benghazi then I want to move to something else,” Baier said. Four minutes of back-and-forth and no news later, Baier asked his first non-Benghazi question: “Did President Obama, during his first term, ever seriously disappoint you in any way?” No, Clinton responded.
Under questioning from Van Susteren, however, Clinton allowed some oxygen to reach the smoldering controversy over the alleged IRS targeting of tea-party nonprofit groups. Obama has called it a “phony scandal,” but when asked about his remark, Clinton replied, “I think that anytime the IRS is involved, for many people, it is a real scandal.” She defended Obama, saying “the circus around these investigations” can obfuscate what’s really happening, but also called for more investigations.
Van Susteren also grilled Clinton on the National Security Agency’s data-collection practices, and got Clinton to agree that things needed to be rebalanced in favor of privacy a bit. “The emergency is over…. We want to get back to regular order,” Clinton said, while avoiding specifics. She also called the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone “absolutely uncalled for.”
Asked about women in politics, Clinton replied, “I do believe that sexism is still a problem. It’s not just in politics. It’s in journalism and business and all kinds of human endeavors in our country.” Van Susteren agreed, saying she has witnessed Clinton getting attacked for her gender, but chided female Democrats — without naming the former presidential candidate specifically — for failing to come to Sarah Palin’s defense in 2008 when some bloggers suggested her youngest child was not actually hers.
Altogether, about 13 minutes on Benghazi and 20 minutes on all other topics combined.
What We're Following See More »
The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.
According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.
"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.