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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

 
The integrity of the witch-hunt

by digby

If you want to understand just how badly Kevin McCarthy gave away the game with his Benghazi gaffe, read this piece by Joe Conason in which he pulls up Boehner and Gowdy's lugubrious comments about the integrity of their expensive witch-hunt:

Even Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace sounded skeptical when he interviewed the Speaker last February:

Wallace: Finally, you have set up a select committee to investigate what happened in Benghazi, even though there have been about a half dozen investigations; the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee basically said there was no there there — like this last year. Some people have questioned: is all of this an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign?

Boehner: No, Chris, it’s — the idea here is to get the American people the facts about what happened.

Here's the part about Gowdy:

For the rest of us to fully understand this craven betrayal of the solemn responsibilities entrusted to congressional leadership, let’s begin with Gowdy’s own remarks on the day that his committee’s work began last January.

“I remain hopeful there are still things left in our country that can transcend politics. I remain convinced our fellow citizens deserve all of the facts of what happened before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi and they deserve an investigative process worthy of the memory of those who died and worthy of the trust of our fellow citizens…

“The people we work for yearn to see the right thing done, for the right reasons, and in the right way. They want to know that something can rise above the din of politics. They want to trust the institutions of government. So to fulfill the duties owed to those we serve and in honor of those who were killed perhaps we can be what those four brave men were: neither Republican nor Democrat. We can just be Americans in pursuit of the facts, the truth, and justice no matter where that journey takes us.”

Golly, that made me want to break into a chorus of "God Bless America" and if it weren't 88 degrees in my house right now I'd have run into the kitchen and immediately baked an apple pie.

It's not that we didn't know they were leaking like seives and using the committee's investigative powers for political purposes. We have. As Conason points out:

There is little doubt, for instance, that Gowdy’s crew was behind the false “criminal referral” leak last summer that so badly embarrassed its enthusiastic recipients at the New York Times. The committee members spent hours (and taxpayer dollars) behind closed doors, grilling Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal not about Benghazi, a topic on which he had no personal knowledge, but about his work with Media Matters for America and American Bridge. Of approximately 550 questions posed to Blumenthal, less than two-dozen concerned the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

In fact, the pertinent questions that Boehner and Gowdy claimed to be exploring were already answered by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI, now retired). The HPSCI report concluded last November that there was no “stand-down” order, as Boehner once claimed, no intelligence failure, and no inappropriate conduct by any responsible officials before, during, or after the terrorist assault.

More at the link.

None of that matters of course. They want to get their grubby mitts on Clinton's personal emails and they won't stop until they've pawed through every single one for evidence of something dirty or corrupt -- or at least can make it look it that way with selective leaks and insinuations. And they'll have the full cooperation of the press which, according Ruth Marcus on Andrea Mitchell this morning, they just can't help obsessing over like a bunch of hungry vultures, to the exclusion of virtually everything else, because there are emails.

If you are confused by all this and don't understand the dynamic surrounding this inane email controversy, you should read Conason and Gene Lyons' ebook The Hunting of Hillary, which recounts the true history of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Even if you loathe Clinton with every fiber of your being you should be concerned about this. They'll use these methods against anyone, just ask John Kerry or Al Gore. If you like Bernie or Biden don't think they won't find a way to get them with this stuff or that the press won't eagerly swallow every tid-bit they give them if they sense blood in the water. The desire to get Clinton is even stronger among both the Republicans and the press, of course, because she and her husband survived the earlier attempt to destroy them and they are frustrated. But don't think it can't happen to any Democrat if the media decides to join in. Character assassination by a thousand cuts is their MO and it's very powerful.

Oh, and by the way, their 9th witchhunt committee has spent 4 million dollars and counting. And that's on top of all the money they spent on the previous 8 investigations.

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