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
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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.

Emma Roller contributed to this article.
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