Here's a great test of the "don't shoot the messenger" phenomenon. I have two links to sites many of you will not like, Fox News, and Huffington Post, (and also links to NYT, and CNN), about a ridiculously dreadful topic - Speaker John Boehner's announcement of a new "bipartisan" committee, last Friday, to take the bogus Benghazi investigations to the same level of seriousness, in terms of House committees, as the Watergate hearings, that might still be one of the more important stories of the day. On the plus side, if you read all the way through this post you should have a fair background on the latest Benghazi brouhaha precipitated by release of the "Rhodes Memo" - sufficient to get through a cocktail party, perhaps.
The Huffington Post posts Democrat Slams GOP For 'Colossal Waste Of Time' On Benghazi Committee
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says it makes no sense to participate in the select committee that Republicans want to create to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California says he'd recommend that Democratic leaders not appoint any Democrats to the committee that Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) is moving to set up.
Schiff tells "Fox News Sunday" that there have been multiple investigations into Benghazi and that the new committee is "a colossal waste of time."
Schiff calls the committee "a tremendous red herring" and a waste of money and believes Boehner is bowing to the GOP's far-right faction.
The four page "Rhodes Memo" [most likely] got lost in the shuffle and was not turned over by the State Department and White House in their original response to the subpoena by Darryll Issa's committee, but finally was last week. [Update: Thanks to Neuroptimalian who point out that I do not have a link to support this. I read this somewhere so added "most likely" to indicated my opinion rather than reported fact].
It apparently contains two lines relevant to the investigation with nothing substantively new. These two line were sufficient for opportunistic G.O.P. to go completely "bonko" and compare this to the "greatest cover-up since Watergate." (See below!) This is all the most shameless and overwrought grandstanding I've seen in my entire life, and at 58 at seen a lot, folks.
Last night I posted the late breaking news on Rep. Darryll Issa's subpoena of Secretary of State John Kerry. For Issa to issue this subpoena without politely asking Kerry to testify first, which he always has, - is an egregious breach of civility between the branches of government. Also, I posted a New York Times article about Speaker Boehner's announcement of this committee both of which I replicate here for your convenience.
The text below is from Hounddog, of The Daily Kos, who wrote John Boehner announces a special Benghazi committee, Issa issues subpoena to John Kerry to testify
Tom Cohen of CNN writes Benghazi -- government cover-up or right-wing conspiracy theory? This story tells us that House Oversight Committee Chairmen Darrell Issa has issued a subpoena ordering Secretary of State John Kerry to testify before Issa's Benghazi committee investigation, just before House Speaker John Boehner announced a special new House select committee will be formed to take the Benghazi investigation to a new level.
On Friday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa announced that he subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify at a May 21 hearing, alleging that the State Department failed to comply with an earlier subpoena for documents. Later, House Speaker John Boehner announced a special congressional committee led by a Republican colleague would investigate the matter.
Yesterday, Issa compared the Obama administration's response to his inquiry to the greatest "violation of any reasonable transparency or historic precedent at least since Richard Milhous Nixon."
One reason Republicans are upset because a memo that has become known as the Rhodes memo was not included in the original subpoena response.
White House spokesman Jay Carney countered accusing Republicans of trying to "reap political benefit" with "conspiracy theories."
Continuing from Tom Cohen of CNN's Benghazi -- government cover-up or right-wing conspiracy theory?
"What we have seen since hours after the attack, beginning with a statement by the Republican nominee for president, is an attempt by Republicans to politicize a tragedy, and that continues today," Carney told reporters Thursday, adding that "what hasn't changed has been the effort by Republicans to ... claim a conspiracy when they haven't been able to find one."
Cohen tells us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton created an Accountability Review Board to investigate the incident. They found no wrong doing and made 29 recommendations all of which were accepted and implemented.
Carney argued that the Rhodes email referred to the broader topic of protests throughout the Muslim world, rather than the specific Benghazi attack. ...
Meanwhile, a State Department spokeswoman took issue with Issa's latest subpoena, telling reporters it was a political stunt. ... Noting Kerry was scheduled to be in Mexico on the date of the hearing in the subpoena, Marie Harf said Issa's committee "would have known if they reached out to us instead of issuing a subpoena."
Having a Committee Chairmen of the House of Representatives issue a subpoena to a Secretary of State for testimony without asking politely first, is highly unusual, and tremendously disrespectful to the executive branch. Especially after that Secretary has been fully cooperative up to that point. Has this ever happened before? Such actions certainly were not necessary in this case. Chairmen Issa is being deliberately uncivil in order to grandstand to his base.
Democratic leaders ought to consider Representative Shiff's suggestion. The alternative view would be if we had at least one person there, we might be able to put some limit on what they do.
In a move that conservatives had long pressured him to make, Speaker John A. Boehner announced that he would call a vote to establish a select committee to examine whether the Obama administration misled Congress about how it responded to the attack and its aftermath. With Republicans in the majority, Mr. Boehner is expected to succeed. ...
“What else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?” Mr. Boehner asked. “Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability and justice. It’s time that change.”
The convening of a special committee is likely to produce a drawn-out and contentious back and forth between the White House and congressional Republicans — fueled by attention from some conservative news media outlets that say others are under-covering the issue. Given the timing of Mr. Boehner’s announcement, about six months before the midterm elections, a summer and fall with numerous hearings and the prospect of more administration officials being called before Congress seems certain.
1:44 PM PT: If you've made it this far after I've tortured you with links to Fox News and Huffinton Post may I test my luck calling to you attention the kinds of red-meat rhetoric our opposiion is throwing to their base from this Republican columnist Jennifer Rubin. Remember I read this opposition research material so you don't have to. Some of it I need to bring to your attention. The worst excuse ever: The Rhodes memo debacle
The White House damage control on the latest batch of Benghazi emails is not going well. The White House’s belated release of the documents at the very least show it has been actively evading legitimate congressional requests for relevant information. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a blistering statement:
Four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi, and this White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to mislead, obstruct, and obscure what actually took place. I am appalled to learn that the administration concealed relevant documents after the House subpoenaed all emails related to the misleading talking points. When four Americans die at the hands of terrorists, the families of the victims – and the American people – deserve the full, unvarnished truth and nothing less. Instead, this White House been callously dismissive of our efforts to get answers… The House has a constitutional obligation to carry out oversight of the administration, and the president has an obligation to cooperate. This evasiveness must end. Our investigation into the events of that September night is going to continue until this White House owns up to the truth – and until these terrorists are brought to justice.
That was too much for a number of news people. Fox News’s Bret Baier remarked:
This was a surreal answer from Jay Carney. Now, this is a prep session with Susan Rice, getting ready for five Sunday talk shows. This is three days after 9/11 when four Americans, including the American ambassador to Libya, are killed. Everybody in the chain has said it’s a terrorist attack, everyone in the chain is saying there’s no protest. And yet this email, if we’re to believe Jay Carney at the White House, had nothing to do with Benghazi. It was more about the broad scope of the region. Now, imagine that. What are they going to ask about on five Sunday talk shows when you have four Americans who were killed just days before? They’re not going to ask about the other protests that didn’t see any Americans killed. They’re going to ask about that. So then he said that the reason they didn’t originally put forward this email to the committee — they eventually got it to the committee redacted — was because it didn’t deal with Benghazi. Now, that really strains credulity, I mean it is really out there.
In light of these new documents, it is more clear than ever that a House Select Committee is needed to conduct a comprehensive investigation unhindered by jurisdictional barriers, interview all key administration witnesses, including the White House staff identified in these e-mails, and hold public hearings to explain to the American people, once and for all, just what happened that night and in the days and weeks that followed.
2:00 PM PT: [Update: Thanks to Neuroptimalian who point out that I do not have a link to support this. I read this somewhere so added "most likely" to indicated my opinion rather than reported fact].
I added his text and "most likely" in bold to indicated this is the common Democratic presumption.
Neuroptimalian is correct to note that this is the essence of the Republican charge that President Obama and the White House deliberately "cover-up" this memo in an attempt to illegally misrepresent the fact that is as serious as the 18 minute gap in the Nixon tapes.
I had already post long paragraphs from John Boehner, and another Republican.
A primary purpose of this post is to call Democratic attention to how much of a big deal the Republicans are making of something we think is trivial.