Trey Gowdy may get Oversight chair and wants us to believe the White House is worried about it

Former House Benghazi Czar Trey Gowdy may take over the chair of the House Oversight Committee, and Politico is right on the spot with a lavish tongue bath. Gowdy is soooo independent that even though he was a member of the Trump transition executive committee, the Trump White House is afeared of his ferocious oversight, we learn from the crackerjack reporting of Kyle Cheney and Austin Wright:

Gowdy “has never met Mr. Trump,” Gonzalez added. “He has never been to the White House. He has no relationship with the president, nor has he ever spoken directly to the president.”

Question: Is he a loyal member of the Republican Party, which has been carefully shielding Trump so he’ll be available and willing to sign off on their tax-breaks-for-the-rich-and-cuts-for-the-poor policies? Yes. Yes, he is.

This independence has not been lost on the White House, which is tracking the congressional Russia investigations

Continue reading “Trey Gowdy may get Oversight chair and wants us to believe the White House is worried about it”

Trump was extremely worried about diplomats—so long as he could use them to attack Hillary Clinton

Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. Is that enough? Hang on. Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, and … Benghazi.

In 2012, US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed when members of the group Ansar al-Sharia first attacked a CIA annex and then a diplomatic compound. The US identified the leaders of the group, sent in special forces, and in 2014 captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, the man regarded as being most responsible for the attack. Khattala was returned to the US, charged in open court, and is awaiting trial on a plethora of charges including four counts of murder. That’s Benghazi.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, as the secretary of state, publicly accepted responsibility for the deaths. Deaths that, as Politifact notes, were far from unique.

March 20, 2002: A car bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, killing nine people and injuring 32. …

June 14, 2002: A suicide bombing in front of the U.S. Consulate in

Continue reading “Trump was extremely worried about diplomats—so long as he could use them to attack Hillary Clinton”

With no evidence at all, Trump wants Congress to give wiretap claims the Benghazi treatment.

Questioned by Hallie Jackson over Donald Trump’s failure to produce even a scrap of evidence to support claims that his phones were wiretapped, press secretary Sean Spicer gave the game away. Jackson made several attempts to get at the same issue: If Trump says he already “found out” about the supposed wire tapping, why not provide the information instead of asking for more investigations. Spicer coughed up several meaningless pills about “separation of powers” before letting free a few seconds of truth.

Jackson: If the president has this information; if he’s sitting on this, if he found out, he’s now suggesting or asking or recommending that congress look into this. You talk about they have resources and staff, which they do, but why spend those resources and staff If the president found out this information and already has it?

Spicer: I think there’s a difference between directing the Department of Justice, which

Continue reading “With no evidence at all, Trump wants Congress to give wiretap claims the Benghazi treatment.”

Shocker: House Benghazi committee is done

How did this ever happen? After the biggest, most outrageoust thing ever, which only happened 13 times during the Bush administration, and eight (count em’) separate investigations designed to last exactly as long as Hillary Clinton’s career, the House Benghazi committee has issued a final, final, truly final report.

The special congressional investigation into the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi is officially over now that the panel filed its final report the day before the House adjourned for the year.

The final report strangely omitted any mention of the actual, admitted purpose of the whole investigation.

“This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,” said [Republican Rep. Richard Hanna]

This eighth investigation along lasted more than two and a half years and ran up a bill of

Continue reading “Shocker: House Benghazi committee is done”

Trump invites Benghazi mother to third debate

This has the potential to be a trainwreck: Donald Trump’s ongoing search for a debate guest who will rattle Hillary Clinton has led him to Patricia Smith, the mother of a man killed in Benghazi, who spoke emotionally at the Republican National Convention. In that speech, Smith said she personally blamed Clinton for her son’s death and that she should go to prison, which is just what the Trump campaign was looking for, apparently, as they sought to escalate from the second debate, when they tried to seat Bill Clinton’s accusers in the Trump family box.

Smith’s grief is raw and painful to watch, but equally painful is watching the Trump campaign exploit that grief. It’s especially disturbing since the mother of Ambassador Christopher Stevens has repeatedly asked Republicans to stop politicizing her son’s death.

It’s a good thing there isn’t a fourth debate or Trump might have escalated to wheeling out a skeleton and

Continue reading “Trump invites Benghazi mother to third debate”

FBI turns up new Benghazi email … which lavishes praise on Clinton

Bombshell! The FBI has found a previously unknown Benghazi-related email in its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon, a veteran diplomat, sent the message to State chief of staff Cheryl Mills, who forwarded it to Clinton. The email reads in full:

Please extend to the Secretary my congratulations for her testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I watched with great admiration as she dealt with a tough and personally painful issue in a fair, candid and determined manner. I was especially impressed by her ability to turn aside the obvious efforts to politicize the events in Benghazi, reminding Americans of the tremendous sacrifice made by Chris Stevens and his colleagues but also insisting that our ability to play a positive role in the world and protect U.S. interests requires a willingness to take risks. I am thankful for her

Continue reading “FBI turns up new Benghazi email … which lavishes praise on Clinton”

Do we live in a new era of endless congressional political investigations?

I’ve had many discussions recently with conservatives about Hillary Clinton and, in particular, the numerous investigations of her and Barack Obama. 

One of the questions that came up was, what have congressional investigations been used for in the past and what are their limits? 

In my research, I stumbled on a wonderful, freely available document at the American Law Library titled “Congressional Investigations: A Bibliography” by Matthew Mantel. 

If this interests you, I encourage a full read. But I thought I’d summarize some of the key points here and talk about how today’s investigations differ from the past. 

Benghazi jingos stick to their repeatedly debunked claims about nonexistent ‘stand down’ order

If you have followed the right wing’s assertions about the slayings of American diplomats in Benghazi four years ago, you’re familiar with the claim that higher ups told the small American security team on the scene to “stand down” rather than race to assist the U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three others besieged in a walled compound serving as the U.S. consulate.

Two survivors of the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead repeated the “stand-down” claim during the first night of a Republican National Convention brimful of exceptional America-don’t-take-no-shit-from-nobody talk by a string of speakers.

Just one problem: Like so much else heard and yet to be heard at the RNC, the claim is bogus. 

The two members of the security team—Mark Geist and John Tiegen—wrote a contentious book, 13 Hours, that has been turned into a film by Michael Bay. Given their frequent public appearances and authorship, you would think that their nearly 30 minutes of spew,

Continue reading “Benghazi jingos stick to their repeatedly debunked claims about nonexistent ‘stand down’ order”

Republicans show how it’s done

They say the best defense is a good offense. As the GOP prepares for its convention in Cleveland, Republicans have little other choice. After all, the Party of Lincoln is about to officially crown the pathological liar, race-baiting bigot, and parasite posing as a populist Donald Trump as its nominee for president of the United States. Voters in Ohio and around the country would do well to remember that many of the GOP’s best and brightest are shunning the Buckeye State altogether rather than be seen trying to defend the indefensible.

Which is why Republicans and their water carriers are launching an all-out attack on Secretary Hillary Clinton over her email practices at the State Department. When Rep. Trey Gowdy’s $7 million Benghazi committee finally wrapped up the eighth and final investigation to find no wrongdoing in the tragedy that claimed four Americans in Libya, the manufactured uproar

Continue reading “Republicans show how it’s done”

Cartoon: Summer beach reads

We’re in the middle of summer and I’d like to hit the beach myself, so here are some jokes about some things in the news. I could expand more on these thoughts, but lobster rolls need to be eaten.

Two GOP-led inquiries into Clinton produce basically zip in the space of a week

Over the coming months, we will surely hear a lot of criticism about Hillary Clinton’s handling of email and Benghazi as Secretary of State. But let’s keep in mind one thing: Within the span of a week, two Republican-led inquiries into Clinton’s conduct by major institutions from separate branches of government have now concluded she engaged in no criminal misconduct or wrongdoing of any kind. 

In the case of Clinton’s emails, FBI director James Comey—a Republican—found that the handling of classified information was sometimes sloppy but, in terms of criminal charges, added, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” In the words of Comey:

In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information, or vast quantities of information, exposed in such

Continue reading “Two GOP-led inquiries into Clinton produce basically zip in the space of a week”

As Benghazi probe fizzles, recall when GOP ignored security

The latest House Benghazi committee, which Republicans hoped would sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes, released its final report early—because there was nothing in it worth saving for an election eve scandal.

Rep. Trey Gowdy and his fellow Republicans stretched out the probe (the eighth such committee to investigate the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans) to two years and spent $7 million to try to dig up new dirt on former Secretary of State Clinton. They failed.

Most of the media, which had been the committee’s biggest ally in publishing scary headlines and tidbits (only to have to walk them back when the facts didn’t reach the level of the rhetoric) pretty much put the final GOP report in perspective. “House Republicans capped a partisan, two-year investigation of the Benghazi terror attacks Tuesday with a report that faults the Obama administration for security lapses that

Continue reading “As Benghazi probe fizzles, recall when GOP ignored security”

Cartoon: The what about X committee

If you thought the House Select Committee on Benghazi was the end of the Hillary investigations, guess again. Picture what will happen when you combine the partisanship and drive of Congressional Republicans with the scattershot, conspiratorial insanity of Donald Trump. The Donald just loves to ask questions and leave them hanging out there as delicious bait for a broad constituency.

Now don’t get me wrong, it makes perfect sense to have a Congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack. People screwed up and the tragedy could have (possibly) been avoided. But it’s pretty apparent that among the eight (8!) investigations into Benghazi, there were plenty of overtly political attempts to dig something up on Hillary Clinton. (Meanwhile, just today, the NRA hit Clinton with a Benghazi ad campaign.)  

Hillary emerged from the Congressional investigations mostly unscathed, but if you combine idle Republican inquisitors

Continue reading “Cartoon: The what about X committee”

A trifecta of terrible: the NRA, Trump, and Benghazi

This really does just have every element of 2016 awful.

The National Rifle Association’s political arm is launching its first ad campaign of the 2016 presidential race, with a survivor of the terror attack in Benghazi urging viewers to vote for Donald Trump.
The ad, which the NRA Political Victory Fund is backing with more than $2 million, is one of the larger expenditures by an outside group on behalf of the presumptive Republican nominee.

The 30-second spot, entitled “Stop Clinton, Vote Trump,” features Mark Geist, a Marine Corps veteran and security contractor who fought the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 that claimed four American lives, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Never mind that Ambassador Chris Stevens’ own family does not blame Hillary Clinton for what happened in Benghazi. Never mind that the $7 million, 800-page Benghazi House committee report didn’t find a damned thing

Continue reading “A trifecta of terrible: the NRA, Trump, and Benghazi”

Family of Ambassador Chris Stevens does not blame Hillary for what happened in Benghazi

Now that we have Benghazi report No. 8 in hand, it’s clear that, despite Republican fuming and speculating, the allegations made over the years are utterly unfounded. There never was a “stand down order” from Hillary—or anyone else. 

House Benghazi Committee Republicans: No new evidence that Clinton, secretary of state at the time of the attack, is to blame for the facility’s vulnerability or the U.S. response to the attacks.

House Benghazi Committee Democrats: Clinton never personally denied U.S. diplomats’ requests for more security in Benghazi.

Senate Intelligence Committee: Does not mention her.

And when it comes to those who lost their lives in Benghazi, we have a much more personal response.

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Chris Stevens, has served as a family spokesperson since his death. …

“It is clear, in hindsight, that the facility was not sufficiently protected by the State Department

Continue reading “Family of Ambassador Chris Stevens does not blame Hillary for what happened in Benghazi”

Clinton campaign: Republican Benghazi report full of ‘discredited conspiracy theories’

Hillary Clinton’s campaign responded to the House Republican Benghazi report, which was the same old news both in the sense that it contained little new information and that, as usual from the Benghazi Committee Republicans, it was partisan hackery. In a statement, spokesman Brian Fallon said:

“The Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee are finishing their work in the same, partisan way that we’ve seen from them since the beginning. In refusing to issue its report on a bipartisan basis, the Committee is breaking from the precedent set by other Congressional inquiries into the Benghazi attacks. And in leaking out select portions from their report in the middle of the night, without even allowing some of the committee’s own members to see it, the Republican members are clearly seeking to avoid any fact-checking of their discredited, conspiracy theories.

“After more than two years and more than $7 million in taxpayer funds, the

Continue reading “Clinton campaign: Republican Benghazi report full of ‘discredited conspiracy theories’”

House Republicans release anticlimactic Benghazi report

The House Republicans have finally released their big Benghazi report, and it contains … not much that’s going to make real news. Which we know from the timing—if they thought they could really damage Hillary Clinton with it, the report would have been released a lot closer to the election. Politico, never over-cautious about hyping a story, reports that while the report contains some details that hadn’t come out in the previous investigations:

Still, the report’s findings are unlikely to change the political narratives surrounding the attack.

The Republican efforts to make Benghazi a major election-year issue were hampered both by the lack of a there there and by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who gave away the game last fall when he said:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.

Then Hillary

Continue reading “House Republicans release anticlimactic Benghazi report”

Benghazi Committee Democrats release report blasting Republicans for partisan abuses

The Republicans of the House Benghazi Committee continue to slow-walk their “investigation” so that its final report is released at a time guaranteed to have maximum election impact. But the committee’s Democrats have released their own report. Thing is, since there have been so many prior Benghazi investigations, the main body of new information details how determined Republicans are to use Benghazi to attack Hillary Clinton. 

We knew that the military would not have been able to get troops to Benghazi in time to save the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other Americans killed in the attack. We knew that the intelligence on what had prompted the attack shifted as new information came in. But if the Republicans on the committee couldn’t find a new bombshell in the interviews and investigations—and they tried, and tried—they were okay with trying to manufacture something. In the end, two years and $7

Continue reading “Benghazi Committee Democrats release report blasting Republicans for partisan abuses”

Republicans plan more of the same campaign they’ve been running against Hillary Clinton for 20 years

Gosh, here’s some surprising news: Republicans hope to spend the summer making Hillary Clinton look as shady as possible. And here’s another surprise: Politico gives them an assist by headlining a story about those plans “Hillary’s summer of scandal,” like some kind of cheap soft porn paperback novel.

It boils down to email, email, email, and:

On top of all that, there’s an expected House report on Benghazi. And a slew of planned document releases from the State Department that a conservative group is planning to make into a movie.

“We have been for months and we will be for the next several months on the receiving end of document productions from the State Department and others,” said David Bossie of Citizens United, another conservative organization. “We have been and continue to be in the works on a Hillary documentary….We’d like to have something launch on or around the

Continue reading “Republicans plan more of the same campaign they’ve been running against Hillary Clinton for 20 years”

Benghaaaaaziiiii panel looks to produce great October yawn

The House Benghazi committee almost did something shocking this week. After 18 months without a single public hearing, they almost did something.

Gen. Carter F. Ham, who led the United States Africa Command on the night of the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has been interviewed at least nine times by investigators scrutinizing the events in 2012 that led to the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

But more than two years after House Republicans created the Select Committee on Benghazi, General Ham has yet to appear before that panel.

But this week … he still won’t be appearing.

He was finally supposed to do so on Thursday, but Republicans suddenly postponed the session until June 8, citing scheduling conflicts.

This it the eighth investigation Republicans have launched to figure out how to cause the maximum damage to Hillary Clinton. The previous seven

Continue reading “Benghaaaaaziiiii panel looks to produce great October yawn”