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Friday, December 2, 2016

Leading Benghazi truther and U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) spent a year using his chairmanship on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee to investigate and unearth what he and the GOP have long alleged is an administration cover-up of the September 2012 attack on a diplomatic post in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, including then-ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

On Wednesday, however, The Daily Beast revealed that the impassioned lawmaker felt less excited about the special select committee House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) formally announced on Friday.

When announcing the members who would serve on the select committee, Boehner notably did not mention Issa’s name. Other conservatives who did not make the cut include House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers (MI) and House Armed Services Chair Buck McKeon (CA) – both top Benghazi truthers who do not support Boehner’s decision to form the committee.

For Issa and other Republicans in leadership positions in the House, the reason for their opposition is political: If the new select committee exposes wrongdoing or a cover-up related to Benghazi, they evidently fear that would undermine the unsuccessful year-long investigations they conducted. For Issa, this fear overrides the committee’s potential to publicize the “conspiracy” that he and others have so desperately pursued.

In his opposition to the committee, however, Issa actually accentuates Democrats’ claims that the GOP was never truly concerned with the deaths in Benghazi, but rather used the event to advance its political agenda.

“This [select] committee in many ways will be checking their work. No one likes that,” says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), referencing the work done by Issa, Rogers, and McKeon, according to The Daily Beast.

Meanwhile, Boehner’s sudden ardent support for the committee – which he insists “is about getting answers for the families of the victims and for the American people” – that he once opposed provides additional evidence that the Benghazi tragedy now serves merely as the right’s favorite political instrument. The timing of the committee – just months before the 2014 midterm elections – follows weeks of good news for President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and a silent acknowledgment within the GOP that the time has come to back off the health care fight.

Worse for the deeply divided GOP is the likelihood that the select committee’s findings will portray at least some Republicans in an unflattering light. If the committee does find evidence that the State Department — then under the leadership of Hillary Clinton – committed some sort of wrongdoing in its handling of the 2012 attack, House committees led by veteran conservative lawmakers will be upstaged in the eyes of the public. But if the committee does not find evidence of any wrongdoing, then Republicans will confirm what Democrats and the Obama administration has maintained all along: Benghazi was a diplomatic tragedy, not some GOP-fabricated liberal conspiracy.

Photo: World Economic Forum via Flickr

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