The Select Committee on Benghazi aims for impeachment of the President

There have been—so far—nine investigations into the incident in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Five House committees and two Senate committees have looked into it along with the Accountability Review Board of the State Department and the FBI.

The House Oversight Committee chaired by Darrell Issa (my congressperson) has not yet finished its investigations and just a few days ago Issa subpoenaed John Kerry to testify. Republicans, however, have grown impatient with Issa's clumsy and ineffective attempts to tie Benghazi firmly to the White House. They have finally realized that he will not give them what they want: solid grounds for impeachment.

Later today the House will vote, along party lines, to establish a select committee consisting of 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats to conduct a new investigation, subsuming all the evidence gathered by the previous five House Committee hearings. Only the Republicans will have the authority to call witnesses. The chair of this select committee will be South Carolina's Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, known as a bulldog in the courtroom. The effort to build him up as an incorruptible lawyer with impeccable credentials has begun in the media.

The goal here is not an objective investigation of what happened at Benghazi, but an attempt to find a plausible charge on which the House can vote to impeach the President. If, as expected, the GOP wins control of the Senate in November, the Senate—which would try Obama— would be controlled by the Republicans and have a much better chance to convict him.

It is a risky strategy, but one with significant payoff. First it might add luster to the 2014 campaign and enhance the already substantial chances of taking the Senate. The election can be touted as a way to clean up a corrupt administration. Secondly it can be used to hurt Hillary Clinton and improve the chances of a Republican President being elected in 2016. That is something for which the big donors will give significant amounts of money. Finally, if successful, it would leave Presidential politics firmly in Republican hands for some time to come—the Democrats would be saddled with two successive Presidential impeachments, something that has never happened. 

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Yeah, terrific.  Congress' current approval record is at 13%.  All that crap will do is push it lower.  Stupid waste of time to feed Republican egos rather than even attempting to do their job: LEGISLATE!

Gowdy has already come out and called this investigation a "trial":

Asked by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough about the possibility that his panel’s work would continue into the 2016 election campaign, Gowdy replied that “if an administration is slow-walking document production, I can’t end a trial simply because the defense won’t cooperate.”


a trial?  me thinks he forgot he quit his old day job.  this, by definition, proves that this isn't a fact finding operation.  a trial is when the prosecution offers what they think happened and then sets out to prove it.  that's what they're doing here.

and i agree, if they take the Senate Reps will most certainly impeach Obama.  why not?  they know that they're screwed in '16 anyway, so might as well finally take your final pound of flesh.  remember, lynchings in the old South didn't start with the hanging part.  they raped, abused, and tortured them first.  then they killed them.  

If handled poorly, there is significant risk for the republicans as well. It appears Gowdy was good as a lawyer but he'll have to be careful. Just because one can impeach (bring charges against), does not mean useless drivel can be puked up as evidence, of..what??? I'm still unclear as to exactly what charges they hope to bring against the president ("no, keep looking. I'm sure you have a rope in there somewhere with which I can hang you"). From what I can see, the so called "smoking gun" email is nothing more than an attempt to prevent the loyal opposition from spinning events to their advantage. It seems the email was a reminder to Susan Rice to clothesline any attempts to portray the administration as weak in their response to terrorism. Maybe someone can correct me on that point. I'm willing to listen.

Maybe they'll use the investigation as a springboard into other newly uncovered the fake birth certificates. There must be a body nearby that resembles Vince Foster. If the president had nothing to hide, there wouldn't be ongoing investigations, right?

The select committee established by House Resolution 567 will have unlimited spending authority and only the Republicans will be able to call witnesses. If they call someone who does not provide accurate testimony, it may not be offset by a witness called by the other side. The investigation is open-ended and will try to assign blame for the lack of security.

One significant point: this was not a consulate, but a temporary special mission. Since it was due to be closed a few months later, Ambassador Stevens twice turned down additional security measures. I think it was a CIA operation hiding under diplomatic cover that drew the attention of the terrorists. The Wall Street Journal said so two months after the attack, but everyone has been trying to suppress that side of the story since using a diplomatic mission as cover for an intelligence operation is considered a very bad thing to do—it sullies the diplomatic effort irreversibly.

The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation, according to officials briefed on the intelligence. Of the more than 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the deadly assault, only seven worked for the State Department. Nearly all the rest worked for the CIA, under diplomatic cover, which was a principal purpose of the consulate, these officials said. — Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2012.

From this morning's NYTimes editorial:

Four Americans, including the United States ambassador, died in Benghazi, and their deaths have been crassly used by Republicans as a political cudgel, wildly swung in the dark. They have failed to provide proof for any number of conspiracy theories about the administration’s failures, including the particularly ludicrous charge from Representative Darrell Issa that Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, told the Pentagon to “stand down” and not help defend the American compound.

In fact, investigations by two congressional committees (including one run by Republicans) found that there was never any kind of “stand-down order” or request. But Mr. Issa and others keep repeating it because, for their purposes, the facts don’t matter.

There are some questions about Benghazi that have not been answered and probably will not be.

1. What was the nature of the temporary special mission that was attacked? How many State Department staff were there? (It was not a consulate as often reported and the total diplomatic staff seems to have been eight.) If we knew what was going on there, we might have a clue as to why it was attacked.

2. What was the purpose of the Ambassador's visit to the temporary special mission? Was he there because some kind of trouble was expected?

3. Why was there a CIA annex to the temporary special mission compound?

4. Why did the State Department and the CIA plan to relocate the temporary mission and the CIA annex to another location where they would be together in one place?

Geez, wadaya want, Pat?  They don't got Obamacare to bitch about any more, and they gotta have SOMETHING!

[sigh] It's too early in the day to be reaching for the TUMS...

A nice summary of the conspiracy theories manufactured by the GOP.

An article by Damon Linkin about the Benghazi investigation:

Mark my words: If the GOP takes the Senate in November, giving Republicans unified control of Congress, Barack Obama will face impeachment proceedings over this issue. The party and its technologically amplified, rabidly right-wing base will demand nothing less.

Nancy Pelosi has named five Democrats to the Select Committee.

This is the best choice for the Democrats and the minority will be able to issue a minority report after the investigation, but on the whole the advantage here is to the GOP. They alone will determine what witnesses are called and how they are handled. Of course they hope to establish such a clear case of wrongdoing by the administration that heads will have to roll, but even if that does not work out for them, they will have pleased their base and left behind their version of the story free of contradictions.
The leading Democrat is Elijah Cummings, who has given Darrell Issa a hard time on the oversight committee and prevented him from turning into a right wing circus. He will undoubtedly strike sparks with Gowdy, who is know for theatrics.
The efforts of Darrell Issa have not been sufficient to establish culpability and so they are turning to Trey Gowdy, who is experienced at grilling witnesses. It remains to be seen whether the thin gruel served up by Issa can be thickened by Gowdy enough to convince voters outside the GOP base that something sinister actually occurred, but the GOP has put all its chips on this investigation doing what nine previous ones could not.




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