“We have always cooperated with legitimate oversight,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said May 5. But, he added, the GOP’s rejection of past investigations “certainly casts doubt on the legitimacy of an effort that is so partisan in nature.”
The GOP’s investigation is based on “a conspiracy theory without a conspiracy,” Carney insisted, which “distracts from what the focus [of the federal government] should be.”
“We’re going to continue focussing on the facts and what matter,” he said, adding: “We leave it up to [Democratic House] Leader [Nancy] Pelosi — any decisions on the Hill to decide how they approach this.”
That stance allows Obama to simultaneously hinder the investigation and slam the GOP as uncaring about the economy, as well as portray himself as a victim of unfair partisanship and hostility.
The hardline-stance was announced the same day that House Speaker John Boehner said that South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy would serve as chairman of a new select committee to investigate the September 2012 attack and cover-up.
Shortly after the Carney press statement, the Department of State announced that Secretary John Kerry will be in Mexico on the date when he has been subpoenaed to give testimony at a hearing.
“Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa had written in a May 2 letter to Kerry. “Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack,” Issa wrote.
Issa issued the subpoena following the court-ordered release of a White House email from Sept. 14, 2012. The email showed that top White House officials were using a little-known anti-Muslim video to keep reporters’ attention away from focusing on a “broader failure of policy,” following the deadly Sept. 11 attack on two U.S. sites in Benghazi, Libya.
But the GOP leadership can also use the Benghazi stand-off to spike turnout in November. “The Obama Admin’s dismissiveness & evasion requires us to elevate #Benghazi investigation to a new level,” according to a Boehner tweet on May 5. “The #SelectCommittee on #Benghazi will have robust authority & will work quickly to get answers,” he added.
“After years of obstruction, it’s time the American people finally get all the answers, and @TGowdySC will ensure that happens. #Benghazi,” said a May 5 tweet from House GOP Leader Eric Cantor.