Republicans Have Created Their Benghazi Select Committee. Now What?

The House approved the special panel, with little Democratic support.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, answers questions during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms and Elahe Izadi
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Sarah Mimms and Elahe Izadi
May 8, 2014, 2:30 p.m.

It’s of­fi­cial: The House has its Benghazi se­lect com­mit­tee, ap­proved along party lines 232-186.

The en­tire Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence voted Thursday even­ing to cre­ate the com­mit­tee, with just sev­en Demo­crats join­ing them. Demo­crats vot­ing in fa­vor of the cre­ation were Geor­gia’s John Bar­row, North Car­o­lina’s Mike McIntyre, Flor­ida’s Patrick Murphy, Min­nesota’s Col­lin Peterson, West Vir­gin­ia’s Nick Ra­hall, and Ari­zona’s Kyrsten Sinema and Ron Barber.

The new pan­el comes after nu­mer­ous hear­ings were held by four oth­er House com­mit­tees in­vest­ig­at­ing the Sept. 11, 2012, at­tacks in Libya that left four Amer­ic­ans dead, in­clud­ing U.S. Am­bas­sad­or Chris Stevens.

House Speak­er John Boehner has pre­vi­ously said a se­lect com­mit­tee was un­ne­ces­sary, but that changed with the re­lease of an email that had been sent by White House Deputy Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Ad­viser Ben Rhodes to then-United Na­tions Am­bas­sad­or Susan Rice. The email, which sug­gests the White House played a role in shap­ing how Rice dis­cussed the at­tacks, was ob­tained by the con­ser­vat­ive group Ju­di­cial Watch and has Re­pub­lic­ans con­cerned that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is with­hold­ing in­form­a­tion from Con­gress.

“This doesn’t need to be, shouldn’t be, and will not be a par­tis­an pro­cess,” Boehner said Thursday on the House floor. “Four Amer­ic­ans died at the hands of ter­ror­ists in a well-co­ordin­ated as­sault, and we will not take any short­cuts to the truth. We will not al­low any sideshows that dis­tract us from those goals.”

But Demo­crats have roundly re­jec­ted the need for a com­mit­tee, cit­ing the nu­mer­ous hear­ings and con­gres­sion­al work that has already gone in­to in­vest­ig­at­ing what happened in Benghazi and its af­ter­math. They charge that its form­a­tion is polit­ic­ally mo­tiv­ated, and they re­buked the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee for us­ing the cre­ation of the com­mit­tee to drive fun­drais­ing.

“This is noth­ing more than a kangaroo court in the mak­ing,” House Demo­crat­ic Caucus Chair­man Xavi­er Be­cerra said this week.

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Car­o­lina, a re­spec­ted former fed­er­al pro­sec­utor known for dra­mat­ic ques­tion­ing who will lead the pan­el, has called on fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans to ab­stain from any fun­drais­ing based on the in­vest­ig­a­tion.

But House Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship hasn’t fol­lowed Gowdy’s suit; Boehner dodged the ques­tion of NR­CC fun­drais­ing, say­ing Thursday, “Our fo­cus is get­ting the truth for these four fam­il­ies and for the Amer­ic­an people.”

The pan­el has slots for sev­en Re­pub­lic­ans and five Demo­crats. Demo­crats are still weigh­ing wheth­er to ap­point mem­bers to the com­mit­tee; while lead­er­ship ap­pears to be lean­ing to­ward a boy­cott, they haven’t made it of­fi­cial yet. They could make an an­nounce­ment as early as Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to a lead­er­ship aide.

House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi and Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er sent a let­ter to Boehner earli­er this week, re­quest­ing equal num­bers of Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats on the pan­el, as well as equal rep­res­ent­a­tion when it comes to the is­su­ance of sub­poen­as and how doc­u­ments are ob­tained and po­ten­tially re­leased, among oth­er points.

The com­mit­tee’s work could go on for years, well in­to the next cam­paign cycle. This par­tic­u­lar com­mit­tee ex­pires at the end of the 113th Con­gress, but the next Con­gress can reau­thor­ize it. If lead­er­ship chooses to do that, it won’t be hard — Re­pub­lic­ans are ex­pec­ted to main­tain con­trol of the House.

The money used for the com­mit­tee comes out of ex­ist­ing funds au­thor­ized for the func­tion­ing of the House, but a spe­cif­ic dol­lar amount for this com­mit­tee has not been spelled out.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
1 days ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
1 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
1 days ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."

Source:
ANALYSIS FROM CBO
32 Million More Uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare Repealed
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login