After 16 months and $4.5 million in taxpayer money, we learned nothing new. What a twist!
That was the conclusion after the Benghazi Committee wrapped up a marathon 11-hour session interviewing former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The 11-member committee began questioning the former secretary at 9:00 A.M. eastern time and the committee did not conclude until 9:00 P.M. eastern time. Through all the hoopla, it became apparent that the committee had no interest in the actual events of September 11th, 2012 but instead were more interested in damaging Secretary Clinton’s reputation as she attempts to become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
The committee had come under fire in recent weeks due to Congressman Kevin McCarthy stating the the committee was able to successfully bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. Democrats, long suspecting this ulterior motive but now finally having it on record, jumped on the statement and launched an all-out attack on what they saw as Republicans using the death of four innocent Americans as way to advance their political agenda. In fact, Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings referenced as much in his opening statement:
“As we all know, Rep. Kevin McCarthy—Speaker Boehner’s second-in-command and the Chairman’s close friend—admitted that they established the Select Committee to drive down Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers. Republican Congressman Richard Hanna said the Select Committee was “designed” to go after Secretary Clinton. And one of the Chairman’s own investigators—a conservative Republican—charged that he was fired in part for not going along with these plans to “hyper focus on Hillary Clinton.” These stark admissions reflect exactly what we have seen inside the Select Committee for the past year. Just look at the facts. Since January, Republicans have canceled every single hearing on our schedule for the entire year—except for this one with Secretary Clinton. They also canceled numerous interviews that they had planned with Defense Department and CIA officials. Instead of doing what they said they were going to do, Republicans zeroed in on Secretary Clinton, her speechwriters, her IT staffers, and her campaign officials. This is what Republicans did—not Democrats.”
As if that weren’t enough, fellow Democratic congressman Adam Schiff also went to town on his Republican colleagues by dropping a few truth bombs that they most likely didn’t want to hear.
“FACT: What gave rise to your appearance here today was many months ago a group called the Stop Hillary PAC, which aired an offensive ad during the debate, showing the tombstone of Ambassador Stevens, among other things, delivered 264,000 signatures demanding that you appear before us.
FACT: It was the next day the Majority approached us and had you come before this Committee.
FACT: After New York Times issued its story in March, this Committee canceled all other hearings, except for the hearing with a witness named Clinton.
FACT: We abandoned our plans to bring in the Secretary of Defense and the head of the CIA.”
Needless to say, this was not how Republicans had envisioned the hearing.
Yet despite the forceful comments from Congressmen Cummings and Schiff there was still the chance that Secretary Clinton could say something, or anything that might become a bombshell going forward. Something that would incriminate her and that would provide Fox & Friends and all their conservative allies some soundbite that would forever link Hillary Clinton to the Benghazi attacks. Some small moment where she would become angry or combative and would appear inept or somehow unpresidential. That’s all they needed.
They got none of that.
If anything, the hearing made Secretary Clinton seem more presidential. She was the adult in the room, keeping her poise and answering all the questions directed her way despite their obvious biased nature. In fact, the day’s most newsworthy clip came not from Secretary Clinton but from Congressman Cummings and committee chairman Trey Gowdy, who got into a heated six-minute argument over the relevance of one particular witness’s emails. At the end of the marathon hearing, Gowdy was asked what new information, if any, was learned by grilling Secretary Clinton. Gowdy responded by saying, “I don’t know that she testified that much differently today than she has in the previous times she’s testified.”
In other words, the brilliant Republican plan to bring down Hillary Clinton had accomplished nothing and actually made her a stronger candidate.