"After spending more than two years and $7 million, the House Select Committee on Benghazi released a report Tuesday that found — like eight investigations before it — no evidence of wrongdoing by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or other members of the Obama administration."Republicans just could not accept the fact that there was nothing to find that they could use to damage Clinton politically. Surely, there must be something. There had to be. They just needed a dedicated investigator to find it. Enter Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and his committee, which was touted as bipartisan -- but proved to be so in name only.
Democratic members of the committee were shut out of private hearings, not allowed to even propose witnesses of their own. Time and again the ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) protested, loudly in committee meetings, as well as by letter to the chair. They even considered resigning from the committee in protest but, in the end, decided it was better to have the little access they did have as committee members.
When Hillary Clinton finally testified -- in an open, public nearing (as she had demanded, so they couldn't distort her testimony), she was a rock of strength and consistency for 11 whole hours. Her steady performance probably helped her politically more than the investigation hurt. Even Chairman Gowdy admitted that they had not learned anything new.
In the end, this long, costly, politically-motivated investigation failed to find any evidence of wrong-doing. Yes, there was inadequate security at the Benghazi outpost, but it was Republicans who had cut security budgets for such facilities. The response to the terrorist attacks was inadequate and flawed, but there was nothing that could have been done, the night of the attack, that could have saved those who lost their lives.
It seems, according to McAuliff's article, that the Republicans actually failed even in their undisguised partisan crusade to harm Clinton's campaign. David Bozell, the head of the Republican group ForAmerica, commented:
". . . I find it incomprehensible and insulting that this Committee spent two years and $7 million in taxpayer dollars to release an 800-page report with no firm findings or conclusions. . . . Congressional Republicans . . . have wasted everyone’s time and money, plain and simple. . . . Hillary Clinton is sure to take a victory lap today due to the fecklessness of the Majority on this committee.”That is a Republican speaking. Of course, he's furious because they didn't find something to smear Clinton with. Nevertheless, it points up the "fecklessness" and failure of this debacle . . . from whatever perspective. That was utterly predictable -- and it was predicted.
And, by the way, as far as the committee being bipartisan: They didn't even put up a charade; it was simply a sheer power grab. The Republican chair did not even allow the Democrats to participate in the final report. They weren't even allowed to see copies of it until after the media had had it for several hours. I am outraged. But not surprised -- except by their blatancy. Forget bipartisan. Republicans abandoned any pretense of decorum or fairness . . . or decency.
But we can gloat over two things: This expensive boondoggle was a political failure for the House Republicans; they now deserve the shame they brought. And Trey Gowdy did incalculable damage to his once-promising political future.