Jay Carney: I don’t know if we’ll cooperate with the Benghazi select committee

posted at 3:21 pm on May 5, 2014 by Allahpundit

Lot o’ strategizin’ happening today vis-a-vis the committee, and not just on the GOP side. Greg Sargent hears from a source on the Hill that Pelosi and company are trying to decide whether to boycott.

A House Dem leadership aide points out that there is precedent for such a boycott. Back in 2005, House Dem leaders declined to participate in GOP hearings into what went wrong with the Bush administration’s response to the Katrina disaster, arguing that Republicans had set up the committee in a way that ensured it would not conduct a serious probe into what happened.

The House Dem leadership aide notes that Dems are looking at their 2005 response as a possible model on how to respond to the new Benghazi committee, though no decisions have been made.

“There is deep concern in the Caucus that participation in this sham committee, like the 2005 Katrina committee, would serve to legitimize what has and by all signs will continue to be a political operation,” the Dem leadership aide tells me.

Steny Hoyer told Politico today that they haven’t decided what to do yet. I made the case for why boycotting is smart-ish in the last post; if your goal is to delegitimize the proceedings, there’s no clearer way to make that point (especially to your friends in the media, who undoubtedly share your contempt for this) than to skip it entirely. The counterargument is that the average low-information voter watching soundbites of the day’s hearings at 10 p.m. on cable either won’t know or won’t care about the boycott. All he’ll know is that Trey Gowdy is pounding the table and seems utterly convinced that there’s a cover-up, and that the witness he’s grilling seems shifty and nervous. If you’re a Dem, maybe it’s better to have people on the committee pounding the table about what a farce this all is so that the news networks have something for the “counterpoint” part of the soundbite highlight reel.

What Democrats are really trying to do right now, I think, is calculate the odds that there’s something hugely damaging out there that might be uncovered by the committee — in other words, the odds that the GOP’s been right about Benghazi all along. Looks to me like they’re 90 percent sure that this’ll be a nothingburger, but that remaining 10 percent carries a big risk. Namely, if they participate in the committee, spend three weeks screeching that it’s a sham and an insult to the president, and then a smoking gun turns up, they’ll be as humiliated as Obama is. That’s another reason to boycott, to keep their distance not only from a committee that their base finds dubious but to keep their distance from any findings that might truly hurt O. Or would their absence actually backfire by signaling to the public that they didn’t care enough to find the truth? Political actors don’t like uncertainty and Pelosi’s dealing with a lot of uncertainty right now.

Exit question for legal eagles: What would it mean for the White House to not “cooperate” with the committee? I assume that means claiming executive privilege over documents that Gowdy wants, which has worked so far in other contexts to hinder GOP investigations but would look awfully shady in this case, especially with the White House bleating that this is all much ado about nothing. Would they, or could they, refuse to send witnesses too? Even Kerry and Hillary routinely appear/appeared before Congress. It’d look suspicious if the key players suddenly clammed up now.

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Have to admit that ole’ Lobster Bait is correct. There is a problem in the GOP. Bad, point….just wanted to type Lobster Bait.

HonestLib on May 5, 2014 at 10:08 PM

I agree there is a problem within the GOP, but libfree was talking specifically about Benghazi, to which I was responding. The Dems are circling their wagons around Benghazi because they are afraid of the truth being more exposed. libfree is whistling past the graveyard on this one.

non-nonpartisan on May 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

Why doesn’t someone with a SET, DEMAND a Special Prosecutor
for Benghazi?? If the Dem’s Bi*ch, simply bring up the
Plame case.
ToddPA on May 5, 2014 at 4:40 PM

I think there should be a special prosecutor too, but not just for Benghazi. Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal deserve attention as well. This is the most dishonest and corrupt administration I have ever seen.

fight like a girl on May 5, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Yes. We’re neighbors, and good friends. And libfreesMom just pointed out to me that her little one is being obtuse again. Like that’s news!

non-nonpartisan on May 5, 2014 at 10:01 PM

I truly sympathize with libfreesMom. That pathologically obsessed parasite of child must be an embarrassment to the entire Ordie family.

farsighted on May 5, 2014 at 10:39 PM

With luck, the Democrats idiots will boycott. Then the dirt will come out.

What will they say then?

GarandFan on May 5, 2014 at 10:48 PM

GarandFan on May 5, 2014 at 10:48 PM

The same things they always say: “Racist!” “Phony scandal!” “Distraction!” “Koch brothers!” “War on women!” “Bush!”

DrMagnolias on May 5, 2014 at 11:07 PM

A House Dem leadership aide points out that there is precedent for such a boycott. Back in 2005, House Dem leaders declined to participate in GOP hearings

I welcome a boycott where Democrats can parade around Capitol Hill expounding on their notion that Republicans are the party of ‘no.’

jedifinance on May 5, 2014 at 11:37 PM

IMO, chances are good that, whatever the reasons for the initial failings in response to the attacks, it will be in the aftermath, of covering it up, that various people will likely be found to have acted criminally. When will this administration’s James McCord write the letter and its John Dean appear and blow the lid off this coverup?

ugottabekiddingme on May 5, 2014 at 11:56 PM

“Special prosecutor.”

Cute. You know who appoints SPs these days? The Attorney General.

Kinda gives you a queasy feeling in the gut, doesn’t it?

Even the nearly unlimited reach of the old “Independent Counsel” couldn’t get the goods from Clinton without a fight, if then. We have to face the fact that a White House determined to keep information from the public cannot be forced to divulge it except by a credible threat of impeachment, and we don’t have that weapon.

If Obama is determined not to cooperate any more than he has, it make take a Republican President in 2017 and some honest government employees to come forward with the truth. If Hillary should win, the evidence will likely just disappear forever.

Adjoran on May 6, 2014 at 12:34 AM

Failure to cooperate (if they even have a choice — check the subpoena powers) and boycotting are just as likely to appear as nothing other than a continuation of the cover up.

An Administration (and it’s party lackeys) failing to “cooperate” when they have something to hide does not “de-legitimize” the proceedings any more than a defendant refusing to cooperate with their trial strips the court of meaning or authority.

The Democrats do not have the power to define the work of the select committee on Benghazi. That sort of speculation has no legs outside of the political punditry.

IndieDogg on May 6, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Regardless of what the Dems do, it’s time to abide by our Constitution and rule of law!

Representative Gowdy, aside from your document examination – and how each one was classified and then declassified (pity the poor person who actually provided the Rhodes email), provided or not, in their effort at cover up, please also focus on witness testimony.

I’d like to hear from Hillary, Rice, Jarrett, Patreaus, the African area commander who was deep sixed, CIA brass, the witnesses (CIA or not) who were there that night, and Every Single Person who was in the Situation Room throughout the attack and anyone who met with/spoke to O that day/night. .

Delve into what we were doing in Libya and Benghazi that day/night.

Were we arming our enemies? If so, who did the ordering?

Who gave the stand down order?

Who originated the video BS? Who framed and set up the political prisoner/fall guy?

Expose all collaborators with the Muslim Brotherhood and militant Islam in this Administration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Treason – and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors, among a plethora of other crimes spring to mind.

Obstruction of Justice
Dereliction of Duty
Other High Crimes & Misdemeanors

Restore the rule of law, Sir!

Opinionator on May 6, 2014 at 3:03 AM

I would love to hear from the survivors too. Where are they?

bigGwillie on May 6, 2014 at 3:34 AM

As in all criminal actions the simple question to ask dems and liberals is this


sniffles1999 on May 6, 2014 at 7:56 AM

why has obama NOT had the CIA looking for the benghazi attackers
and why had obama not ordered seal team 6 to get them

or at a minimum do drone hits

have our spys or ask israel to help, find these guys and every time we burn one off the face of the planet do a press conference and say, THIS IS WHAT WE DO WITH THOSE THAT ATTACK AMERICA, we will find you and KILL YOU. PERIOD.

sniffles1999 on May 6, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Here is how the Republicans can really stick it to the democrats, if the democrats REFUSE to participate, fine.

Do a by NAME open invite on the house floor and when they refuse use that in the campaign adds stating by name who REFUSED to not only find the truth but also particiapated in a coverup for obama.

lets see how the folks back home feel about that.
and run those adds on say 4th of july, the anniversary of 9/11 benghazi attack with photos of the slain.

sniffles1999 on May 6, 2014 at 8:03 AM

There is deep concern in the Caucus that participation in this sham committee, like the 2005 Katrina committee, would serve to legitimize what has and by all signs will continue to be a political operation,” the Dem leadership aide tells me.

No one is mentioning how when Democrats took over both the House and Senate they held DOZENS of hearings / meetings, spent HUNDREDS of hours pouring over THOUSANDS of pages of documents and e-mails, costing the American people MILLIONS of dollars while wasting valuable time to do work for which they were elected to do, in an attempt to get ANYTHING on Bush with which to Impeach him…and FAILED to do so!

In a move to justify their ‘witch hunt’ to the American people Eric Holder, the 1st U.S. Attorney General in our nation’s history to be CENSURED for multiple FELONY counts of PERJURY, charged …and JAILED… Bush Administration official Scooter Libby with Perjury for not remembering exact details of what he had done 2 YEARS earlier that had NOTHING to do with Bush, the Iraq War, or anything they were investigating. Democrats HAD to show SOMETHING to ‘prove’ their hatred for Bush had not fueled the unwarranted ‘witch hunt’. So if ANYONE would know ANYTHING about ‘attempting to legitimize’ a purrely partisan political ‘witch hunt’ it would be THEM!

easyt65 on May 6, 2014 at 8:22 AM

I’m fairly comfortable that they can take their defiant, lawless Alinsky bullsh*t as far out over the top as they like, generating Constitutional crises as expedient, but Trey Gowdy will be neither cowed nor fooled.

petefrt on May 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

It appears the time has come to arrest the lot of them, haul them off to prison as traitors, try them and hang them. They do NOT have any rights beyond that of any other citizen! If we don’t, we are then letting them truly own us. Enough is more than enough. This also tells me they as guilty as sin in each and every traitorous act we have been experiencing with this administration as well as many in Congress. Either this is OUR America or not. We must decide and NOW is that moment in time.

Roselle on May 6, 2014 at 10:47 AM

I believe we will repeal Obamacare before we uncover anything about Benghazi. Which is to say, never

Brock Robamney on May 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

I look at it this way:
Democrats do not participate, cry partisanship and nothing comes from the Committee, Democrats gain points.

Democrats do not participate, the link is made that puts Obama and/or Hillary in the cross-hairs, Democrats look bad and have a real problem.

I really want the truth to come out, BUT, I think Obama will gamble and claim Executive Privilege like he did with Fast and Furious. He will then have no option except to pardon his entire staff and the leadership of every department. Any of them get in front of a hearing with immunity and Obama is toast, in prison along with Holder and Hillary.

namvet6869 on May 6, 2014 at 1:46 PM

The word is out that the White House has suddenly ‘classified’ a widely-circulated Obama Administration Strategy e-mail discussing how to specifically deal with the reporting of one (1) U.S. media outlet that everyone in the world knows Obama considers a political enemy — Fox News, claiming ‘Executive Privilege’ and refusing to release the obviously seriously [email protected] document! There is no other reason for refusing to release the UN-Classified document!

In an attempt to quietly circle the wagons, this move is the equivalent of blowing a lighthouse foghorn while doing it, catching EVERYONE’S attention!

“Nothing to see here in this bright yellow envelope that says, “Deceitful Tactics & Lies To Use to Counter the Accurate Fox News Reports on Benghazi”. Ummm, what is in this folder is not even about Benghazi!” — Jay Carney

easyt65 on May 6, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Just imagine if the GOP tried that how loud Dems would scream! Typical hypocrisy. As usual, if they didn’t have double standards they’d have none!

russedav on May 6, 2014 at 4:49 PM