Actually, the money line here is “I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have,” which subtly raises the possibility of claiming executive privilege. If, constitutionally, they’re not required to comply then they don’t have any such responsibility. Does this sound like a man who’s eager to turn stuff over?
The secretary appeared to preemptively dismiss the questions raised about why an email from deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, not previously released but obtained by FOIA request and lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, had not been made public earlier. The White House has said that this email, which included talking points about violence linked to an anti-Islamic video, was not included in previous releases because Rhodes himself was not covered by the subpoenas.
“The fact is that documents require a legal process,” Kerry said.
Realistically, though, is there any way to claim privilege at this point without it looking impossibly shady? Kerry’s whole point is that they have nothing to hide, the proof of which is that they’ve already turned over thousands of documents and provided testimony, including some from Hillary Clinton. Hammering that point is key to their argument that this is another time-wasting Republican fishing expedition. If they suddenly clam up once a select committee gavels into session, it’ll have the appearance of a suspect demanding a lawyer just as the questions in his interrogation get tough. Why would you do that if you’re trying to convince the public that this is the mother of all nothingburgers? In fact, Kerry ended up saying, “I’ve guaranteed that we would cooperate in every single way. We have and we will.” That’s the smart play, provided there’s no smoking-gun document buried in the archives. The Benghazi saga is sufficiently convoluted by now that most low-information voters will zone out from the select committee, I suspect. No reason for the White House to risk waking them up by putting up an ostentatious fight over which documents it’s legally entitled to suppress.
How does “we’ll comply” fit with the idea of House Democrats possibly boycotting the committee, though? If it’s a kangaroo court that no one should take seriously, illegitimate to the point that Dems won’t even dignify it by participating, then why wouldn’t Kerry resist turning over documents? He might lose in court and it might backfire by looking suspiciously defensive, but if Democrats are serious about “controversializing” this process, they might as well go the whole nine yards.
Update: Pelosi’s demand for equal representation on the committee is denied.
House Republicans have decided the select committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attack will include seven Republicans and five Democrats, according to two senior House GOP leadership aides…
Earlier Tuesday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi demanded it be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
Now that the committee’s structure has been decided, it’s unclear whether Democrats will participate.