Today, Hillary Clinton is testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. It’s an amazing display. It’s such a joke. They’ve been beating this drum for three years now. They’ve found nothing. All they’ve managed to do is convince those in the right wing echo chamber that there must be fire, because if there is one thing the Republican Party is good at, it is creating smoke. But if that weren’t enough, we had Kevin McCarthy putting the hearings in the context of how it damaged Clinton’s approval rating. And over the weekend, we learned, Republican Chairman Of Benghazi Committee Caught Making Bogus Accusation Against Hillary Clinton.
It all involves Trey Gowdy. Earlier this month, he sent out a letter claiming that Clinton had revealed the name of a CIA source in some of her private email. Gowdy wrote, “This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but human lives.” On Sunday, the ranking Democrat, Representative Elijah Cummings hit back. Hard. It’s worth quoting at length:
The problem with your accusation — as with so many others during this investigation — is that you failed to check your facts before you made it, and the CIA has now informed the Select Committee that you were wrong. I believe your accusations were irresponsible, and I believe you owe the Secretary an immediate apology.
It appears that your letter was rushed out to the press to counter the public firestorm caused by Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s stark admission that Republicans are using millions of taxpayer dollars to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president. However, your letter only provided further evidence of this fact.
It turns out that the information is not classified. But before releasing it to the press, Gowdy redacted the name of the CIA source, adding “redacted due to sources and methods.” This was certainly all done to make Clinton look bad. And as Cummings noted in his letter, “Predictably, commentators began repeating your accusations in even more extreme terms…” Of course they did! Just the same, you would think after the same thing happens again and again (as it has with selective leaks from various Benghazi committees), the the press would wise up.
What’s perhaps most important, is that a day after this story broke — showing malfeasance on the part of Trey Cowdy — Google News had nothing about it among its top news items. In fact, if you did a search on “Benghazi,” the first thing that came up was a Fox News article, “Ambassador Sought Security Staffing Before Benghazi Attack, Cable Shows.” It’s understandable that for the last 40 years, the Republicans have been looking for something to redeem them for Nixon and the Watergate scandal. They look for scandals everywhere, even while they find them nowhere. (Unless marital infidelity is as important as running a crime syndicate out of the White House.)
I hope Brian Beutler was right earlier this week, The Benghazi Witch-Hunt Against Hillary Is Backfiring Just Like Bill Clinton’s Impeachment. But is it really? I question that. It seems to me that the press is only waking up to the fact that there is nothing to all this Benghazi thing. The Republicans have had more than 13 hearings on it. That ought to be enough to come to that conclusion. Instead, it takes clear acts of malfeasance to make the press figure there is nothing to see. Of course, there is something to see. If the Democrats acted like the Republicans have, it would be a huge thing. Instead, given that this is simply what the Republicans have become, it is ignored. The Republicans are just awful, so there is no story.