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House Democrats Intensify Criticism Of Benghazi Panel’s Motives

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House Democrats Intensify Criticism Of Benghazi Panel’s Motives

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By Billy House, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are sharpening their criticism of a Republican-led panel investigating the Benghazi attacks, accusing the committee of shifting its focus to politically target presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In a report released Monday, Democrats on the committee sought to debunk what they called “wild” assertions about the former secretary of State’s handling of the 2012 attacks, including that she had ordered the military to stand down on the night a U.S. mission in Libya was overrun by extremists.

The 124-page report escalates a Democratic offensive against the panel just days before Clinton is scheduled to testify publicly on Oct. 22. The motives of the Republican-led investigation have come under increasing attack by Democrats and set off a war of words with the panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

“Republicans have now admitted repeatedly that they are spending millions of taxpayer dollars to damage Secretary Clinton’s campaign for president,” said Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s top Democrat, in a statement attached to the report.

Jamal Ware, a spokesman for the committee, said the report showed that Democrats were more interested in providing political cover for Clinton than in finding out about what happened in Benghazi.

“For the majority members of this committee, they will continue to wait until after hearing from all witnesses, up to and including the very last one, before drawing conclusions, because that is what serious investigations do,” Ware said in a statement.

Democrats say that the committee has shifted its focus from investigating the 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans to probing Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business while serving as secretary of State. Revelations about Clinton’s use of a private email account emerged as a result of the committee’s work, and have weighed on her bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Objections from Democrats to the panel’s work have been fueled by comments during the last two weeks by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, who cited the committee’s work as helping to undermine Clinton’s presidential prospects and poll numbers.

Last week, Cummings criticized the committee for interviewing long-time Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, saying that she had no policy or operational role in the Benghazi matter. Republicans defended bringing Abedin before the panel for several hours of questioning on Friday, saying her role as a top State Department aide to Clinton made her testimony essential to learning more about Benghazi.

In their report, Democrats summarize 54 transcribed interviews and depositions conducted by the select committee — and they say none of the witnesses has substantiated claims made by Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.

Along with noting that Clinton did not order the military to stand down on the night of the attacks, it says there is no evidence Clinton personally approved or ordered a reduction of security in Benghazi prior to the attacks or that Clinton or her aides oversaw an operation at the State Department to destroy or scrub embarrassing documents.

“The evidence obtained by the Select Committee also corroborates previous testimony to Congress indicating that Secretary Clinton was deeply engaged during and after the attacks and took action to ensure the safety and security of U.S. personnel, even as intelligence assessments of the attacks changed more than once during this period,” the report states.
The report also states that of the 70,000 pages of documents obtained by the committee, the only documents Gowdy has chosen to release publicly are Clinton’s emails with outside adviser Sidney Blumenthal.

“At the same time, Chairman Gowdy has blocked the public release of Mr. Blumenthal’s deposition transcript, which would reveal the questions Republicans asked about issues related to Secretary Clinton that have nothing to do with Benghazi, as well as Mr. Blumenthal’s answers to questions about the emails that Chairman Gowdy released,” the report states.

The report also notes the committee, meanwhile, “has never asked a single question to the secretary of Defense — in public or private,” or ever held a single hearing with anyone from the Department of Defense in 17 months.

On Sunday, Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas defended the panel, saying it remained focused on getting to the bottom of a terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“We have an obligation to hold folks accountable and make sure that we reduce the risk that something like this could ever possibly happen again,” Pompeo, a committee member, told NBC’s Meet the Press.

(c)2015 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD). September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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16 Comments

  1. Buford2k11 October 21, 2015

    well, the panel finally found out the real truth of the Benghazi fiasco…It was only there for one purpose, and that was to hurt HRC…

    Reply
  2. @HawaiianTater October 21, 2015

    It’s about damned time the Democrats grew a spine and went on the attack over this. Republicans have gotten away with wasting taxpayer dollars on partisan attacks for far too long. The public needs to know exactly what they are all about. This should be an actual scandal but the Dems are going to have to go into attack mode if they want it treated like the scandal that it truly is.

    Reply
    1. John Murchison October 21, 2015

      One of the things about the Dems that always irked me. They cave in and fail to go on the defensive. When Kerry was swift-boated they should have gone on they attack instead they let a vet go down. If that happened to the GOP…they would be foaming at the mouth.

      Reply
      1. @HawaiianTater October 21, 2015

        It drives me insane every freakin’ time Dems cower instead of attacking. If you’re right about something, by god you better stand up and tell everyone you’re right about it. Have some machismo. Americans eat that up. See: Donald Trump.

        Reply
        1. John Murchison October 22, 2015

          The Donald doesn’t lack for macho or gall.

          Reply
          1. RED October 23, 2015

            Yeah, the qualities he truly lacks are any kind of brains or intellect and possible any human soul.

            Reply
          2. John Murchison October 23, 2015

            and dont forget–hair found in nature.

            Reply
  3. Insinnergy October 21, 2015

    “The report also notes the committee, meanwhile, “has never asked a single question to the secretary of Defense — in public or private,” or ever held a single hearing with anyone from the Department of Defense in 17 months.”

    So they call in Hillary’s aides… who are not directly involved in Benghazi… and this is somehow totally critical to their investigation of Benghazi. But don’t bother to interview the DoD at all??????

    As if you needed more confirmation of the actual direction of this panel.
    Gowdy won’t be able to get a janitor’s role in the Congress Buildings after this one finishes blowing up.

    Reply
  4. fortunev October 21, 2015

    Rethuglicons are blatant liars and mendacious hypocrites deliberately subverting a congressional inquiry that should have been completed months ago. But nooo, the criminal politicians must keep stomping a dead horse to prop up their idiotic perversions. Inbred half-wit Gowdy Doody is one putrid cup of tea. Send the cretin back to DELIVERANCE where he can play his banjo to his fellow inbred half-wit constituents in perpetuity.

    Reply
  5. 1standlastword October 21, 2015

    Mr. Gowdy…in the role and likeness of the ole “hanging judge” pretending to be lawful but really making his own case to convict.

    Okay then…this high flying circus act will go on at taxpayer expense until HIS will is exhausted: And by god I hope nothing comes out of it to taint Hillary.

    If she comes away clean then the fates will once again turn against the republicans at the eleventh hour when the sordid history of their front runner gets exposed to the light of day and the majority/ people will have their revenge when Gowdy “might” get primaried because he will have failed his caucus, his party and most deservedly himself!

    Reply
    1. Polana October 23, 2015

      No , he will be elected to be maybe the next Rat House speaker. Every failed CEO get a big bonus and promotion, no difference in politics. Same s$$$it different day.

      Reply
      1. RED October 23, 2015

        Sadly, we have produced a system that rewards the most dishonest vile scum, especially in politics. The one who gets ahead is the one willing to lie cheat steal, promise everything to everyone or at least to the highest bidder. Statesmanship, public service, concern for our country and the public have absolutely no meaning to these vile scumbags. dded to that we have a group of complete and total morons who are too ignorant to recognize they have far more in common with the average African American or Latino than they do with the vile scum of Congress and their corporate masters.

        Reply
      2. 1standlastword October 23, 2015

        Or better he will be punished by the people for his despicable deeds like CEOs should be defrocked and corporations litigated and held accountable as in the recent example of VW: That said I expect it will be nothing more than MORE pay-to-play!
        I completely sympathize with the current populace anger that you reveal but I also sense an evidence of hopelessness which I understand as it seems the wicked appear to continue to prevail over and over again.
        I think we have to be suspicious of a natural sense of “hopelessness” as I see it as being manufactured by the same powers that profit from it: Too much hopelessness leads to passivity, apathy and self-defeat
        On the other end of apathy/ hopelessness–the power elite wants to calibrate populous anger, tamp it down with trickery, deceit, fear, division of the people and their act of false morality so we don’t see through it and TEAR down there their palaces because we will conclude that if we can’t live as a free people then they can’t rule over us.
        We might be approaching a violent revolution to change out systems of government–if you take your sentiment to its natural conclusion: “same s$$$it different day”–it is a formula of doing something we intellectually resist because we are tricked into thinking it is wrong–in fact plain uncivil!!
        However, when we think about it the power elite that destroys sovereign nations afar are the biggest actors of “uncivil” acts when those actions are carried out on other peoples turf and the commission of those actions is in the best interest of the “morally-corrupt-power-elite”.
        America is in a phase of digression! It’s completely clear…absolutely apparent! There are forces acting over our government today that weren’t in existence 50 years ago–although they were around.
        We have been here before when people felt hopeless and abused and during that those times populous anger rose and people then were divided among themselves and fearing of each other until they united for a common cause to defeat their oppressors!
        That was our American Revolution and with the Industrial Revolution it was our Civil War.
        The scale of power will not tolerate radical imbalance long before the weights are adjusted to a “near fair leveling”

        Reply
  6. Eleanore Whitaker October 22, 2015

    Trey Gowdy broke Constitutional law by breaking the oath he swore to. When you set up a baseless investigation with an agenda that seeks to destroy the reputation of a Secy of State so she will not be able to run for president, you have to be pretty low and slimy to not know you are breaking laws.

    Reply
  7. yabbed October 22, 2015

    Who gives these Republican freaks the right to spend our hard earned tax dollars on nonsense like this? What is this? The ninth or tenth hearing on Benghazi? How many millions of dollars did we spend on how many attempts to overturn the ACA? These people consider themselves “fiscal conservatives”? Imagine the meals that could have been provided to hungry children. Imagine the benefits that could have helped our vets maimed in Bush’s senseless wars. Where did decency and common sense go?

    Reply
  8. RED October 23, 2015

    Just another daily reminder that the Republican hate group are traitors to the American public and actually have no human soul, although we really don’t need any more evidence this fact. Only the Con sickness could make people so frigging stupid that they could proclaim that George Bush “kept us safe” and still accuse Hillary of incompetence. I’m by no means a big Hillary supporter, personally I think she is owned by many of the same people that own the ignorant Cons. But in the minds of normal people there is a big difference between not being a supporter or disagreeing with someone’s politics and the unhinged from reality practiced by the Reich Wing and their ignorant Con sick followers.

    Reply

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