South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy’s Special Committee on Benghazi has been now thoroughly outed — not by Democrats but by his fellow Republicans.
First House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) bragged that Gowdy’s committee had succeeded in bringing down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers in her bid for the White House. Then New York House Republican Richard Hanna confirmed the same partisan purpose of Gowdy’s committee: “This may not be politically correct,” he said during a radio interview last week, “but I think there is a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and get an individual, Hillary Clinton.
Gowdy, however, continues to deny the undeniable. He insists that he and his fellow Republicans on the committee — Reps. Susan Brooks (Ind.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Mike Pompeo (Kan.), Martha Roby, (Ala.) Peter Roskham (Ill.) and Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) — are focused only on the facts about the 2012 attack and why and how to avoid such a tragedy in the future, and that they have no anti-Clinton political agenda.
So let’s see if Gowdy and his fellow Republican colleagues walk the walk, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Let’s see how many questions they ask the former secretary of State in this week’s hearings about what happened, why and how to avoid such future tragedies — and how many of them ask about emails and private servers.
To test their attempt to rehabilitate themselves for their past conduct that obviously attempted to exploit a tragedy involving the deaths of four Americans for partisan purposes, let’s see if Gowdy or any of the Republicans on the panel ask the following three questions.
- Secretary Clinton, can you tell us why you appointed the Accountability Review Board, chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen, to investigate the Benghazi tragedy and what was the result of their work?
Of course, if they ask Clinton this question, they will learn that she gave the board, led by a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under Republican President George H.W. Bush and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, complete independence and access. She committed ahead of time, unlike any prior secretaries before her, to full transparency. And when she published the full report (except for some classified material), she immediately accepted all the board’s recommendations to correct “systemic failures” of the department prior to and during the tragedy, and took responsibility.
- Secretary Clinton, as you know, seven other congressional committees have investigated the Benghazi attack. Is there anything they missed that we should be looking into?
Of course, if Gowdy and the Republican members ask this question, they will have to try to explain why their committee exists at all (other than the anti-Clinton reason that everyone knows) unless they are willing to criticize other Republican Benghazi committees for not doing an adequate job, such as the Republican-controlled House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, which published extensive reports and findings about Benghazi.
- Secretary Clinton, did your choice to use a single BlackBerry to send out emails during your tenure as secretary of State rather than two, or your decision to store emails on a private server at your home, have any impact whatsoever on the tragic events of what happened at Benghazi and its aftermath?
Of course, the truthful — and indisputable — answer to this question is: No. Gowdy and his fellow Republicans know this.
Every single member who asks any question about emails — Gowdy, Brooks, Jordan, Pompeo, Roby, Roskham and Westmoreland — should be asked by the media and all constituents back home who care about wasteful government spending: How can you justify spending almost $5 million of taxpayer money when you have uncovered nothing new, duplicated spending by fellow Republicans, and have spent so much time on a subject having nothing to do with the tragedy at Benghazi?
Let’s see if any of these Republicans ask any of the above three questions or acknowledge that they have wasted taxpayer dollars in trying to hurt Hillary Clinton politically rather than trying to save American lives who serve at dangerous embassy locations in the future.
Lanny Davis served as special counsel to former President Clinton and is principal in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Lanny J. Davis & Associates, and is executive vice president of the strategic communications firm LEVICK. He is the author of the recently published book “Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics, and Life.”