Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee want to play nice to insure the final report is not seen as too partisan. Democratic members of the committee sent a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy Tuesday which opened with a sincere plea for bipartisanship:
We believe the American people would be best served by a joint report that highlights findings that all Members agree on—Republicans and Democrats—followed by areas on which reasonable people may disagree. We believe that all of our interview and deposition transcripts also should be released, consistent with classification guidelines. In this way, the public will have the benefit of the views of all Members of the Committee, as well as the underlying transcripts for their own review.
This plan has the advantage of immediately turning every element of the report Democrats don’t like into an outright partisan conclusion, i.e. Republicans say this but Democrats say that. But if Republicans don’t fall for this gambit, Democrats have a back up plan:
If you choose not to adopt this consensus approach, then we believe the American people deserve, at a minimum, a report that has been thoroughly vetted by all Members of the Select Committee—before it is released publicly. To accomplish this goal, we ask that you circulate your proposed draft report to all Committee Members with sufficient time to check basic facts, correct inaccuracies, and provide evidence to the contrary when necessary. Of course, we would agree to provide you with an advance copy of any ‘minority views’ so the entire package could be released to the American people at the same time.
In short, show us your report so we can get an early start on our rebuttals, which we promise to let you read before publication. And then the Democrats suggest failure to go with plan a or plan b would result in a shoddy, partisan report. Except Democrats slip up and reveal they already think the entire effort has been shoddy and partisan from the jump:
In our view, the worst approach would be for you to publicly release a partisan report drafted only by Republicans that has never been reviewed by nearly half of the Select Committee Members. Such a report would not have the benefit of robust vetting by all Select Committee Members and, as a result, very likely would include critical errors and other deficiencies. The public inevitably would view this approach as the partisan capstone to the Select Committee’s two-and-a-half-year attack on Secretary Clinton.
That doesn’t sound like someone who is ready to help the committee issue an accurate, bipartisan report. It sounds like partisan Democrats attacking the entire process, including the resulting report they haven’t seen yet. And that’s really about as agreeable as this letter gets. The remainder is a litany of accusations of leaks and bad behavior by the majority. Here is a bit of the conclusion from the would-be bipartisans in the minority:
By cutting Democrats out of the process, selectively leaking misleading information to fit a partisan political narrative, withholding copies of interview transcripts in retaliation for correcting the public record, and dragging out the investigation until the eve of the political conventions, you are engaging in precisely the process you condemned.
Based on this lengthy record, we have already expressed our serious concerns about the Select Committee’s credibility.
But despite all the clear evidence that nothing good can possibly come from this, Democrats “want to make one final attempt to put politics aside” by accusing them of partisanship and publicly pressuring them to agree to one of Democrats’ preferred plans for the report. Spokesman for the majorty Matt Wolking gave a statement to The Hill:
“These do-nothing Democrats pretending to be interested in the truth are the same ones who refused to help with the investigation and wasted millions of dollars trying to undermine and obstruct it,” Wolking said in a statement.
“It’s obvious the Democrats aren’t serious, and their two-faced antics and dishonest distortions are just part of the political game they’re playing on the taxpayers’ dime,” he added.
“While they stick to knocking down their own straw men and trying to prove their predetermined political conclusions, Republicans are following the facts and working to provide answers to the families of the victims and the American people,” he added.
The committee’s final report is expected to be released next month.