Skip to comments.Senate GOP: We want in on probe (Benghazi)
Posted on 05/07/2014 4:47:09 AM PDT by maggief
Senate Republicans want to broaden the new Benghazi special committee to include members of the upper chamber.
Their call for a bipartisan, bicameral panel similar to the 9/11 Commission puts pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is resisting the idea.
Republican lawmakers on Tuesday spoke out after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) outlined her conditions for establishing a select committee in the lower chamber to probe Benghazi. She said Democrats would participate only if the panel were equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) immediately rejected Pelosis demand, but Senate Republicans said they would agree to an evenly divided special committee that included senators as well as House members.
It would make sense if it were bicameral, said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), a senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence panels.
I would like to see that, with the ability to get information out of the State Department. Thats where the fault lies all the way to the top, he told The Hill.
A bicameral special committee is necessary, according to Chambliss, because it would allow investigators to subpoena members of the State Department. He complained the Senate Intelligence Committee, on which he is the ranking Republican, lacked that power when it probed the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic annex in Benghazi.
We were frustrated in our investigation by the lack of ability to subpoena witnesses and, particularly, subpoena documents from the State Department, he said. The State Department was not complicit in our investigation. They stonewalled us time and time again.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), another senior Republican on Armed Services, said he would support setting up a bipartisan, bicameral special committee.
Absolutely, he said. So theres equal representation.
McCain said it would be important to create such a panel because the Senate has its responsibilities as well as the House.
The Arizona senator noted that he and former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a centrist Democrat turned Independent from Connecticut, called for the creation of the 9/11 Commission more than a decade ago.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), another member of the Armed Services panel who has been outspoken about Benghazi, endorsed the idea.
Id like to see a bicameral committee, simply because Congress as a whole is affected by Benghazi. Both bodies I think have been manipulated by the White House, he said.
Graham said the 9/11 Commission could serve as a model.
Both Graham and McCain voiced doubts that Reid would agree to such a proposal.
Its clear to me that both leaders of the Democratic Party do not have the same zeal to find out what happened at Benghazi as Republicans did with 9/11, Graham said.
Graham noted that then-President George W. Bush initially opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission but relented after McCain and Lieberman gave bipartisan backing to the idea.
Soon after the GOP comments, Reid dismissed the prospect of senators participating in a special investigation of the attack, which he argues have been reviewed ad nauseam.
No, were not going to do any select special committee over here on Benghazi, he told reporters.
House Republicans are poised to vote later this week to create the committee, and the motion has the backing to pass. Speculation has swirled about whether the Democrats would boycott the process, as they did a similar 2005 investigation into the governments response to Hurricane Katrina, which they deemed a partisan whitewash.
Pelosi on Tuesday didnt go that far, though a boycott is clearly still an option on the table. The minority leader amplified the Democrats criticism that the select committee on Benghazi is unnecessary in light of numerous other probes into the tragedy. But she also suggested the Democrats would participate if the process is open and evenly bipartisan.
If this review is to be fair, it must be truly bipartisan, Pelosi said in a statement. The panel should be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans as is done on the House Ethics Committee. It should require that witnesses are called and interviewed, subpoenas are issued, and information is shared on a bipartisan basis.
Only then, she added, could it be fair.
Its unclear if Pelosis 50/50 stipulation is a mandatory condition of the Democrats participation on the panel. If it is, then the committee might consist only of Republicans.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who will head the special panel, suggested Tuesday that the Republicans, who control the House, will hold more seats on the panel.
Were the majority right now, Gowdy said, according to reports. Were the majority for a reason.
At press time, House Republicans announced that the panel would consist of seven GOP members and five Democrats.
Pelosis openness to participating in the probe is hardly an endorsement of the special investigation. Democrats have characterized the new probe as a politically motivated stunt to embarrass both the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Pelosis move reveals that Democrats are wary of giving up a presence on the panel, which would allow Republican investigators to take shots at the White House without rebuttal.
Boehners office on Tuesday accused Pelosi of a double standard because, as Speaker in 2007, she created a special committee on global warming that consisted of nine Democrats and six Republicans.
House Democrats fired back, noting that the climate change panel was launched at the outset of the 110th Congress, just as the Democrats were taking back power, to complement standing committees. It was not, the Democrats emphasized, a special panel created to investigate the White House response to a specific incident.
Russell Berman contributed.
McCain and Graham should be kept as far away from it as possible. They’re obviously complicit in the arms smuggling.
I smell Rat
Don’t go for it House - it’s a trap.
Exactly. My hunch is that’s their plan ... to keep the focus on ‘the video’, away from gun-running.
If the Senate wants to do their own investigation, that’s one thing. But allowing Vichy Republicans from the Senate to get involved in the House Select Committee would be opening themselves to being corrupted in their pursuit of the truth.
Absolutely, he said. So theres equal representation.
Shut up Juan.
(On the heels of Boehner’s primary win...)
John Batchelor Show ...They were training jihadist and running guns through Turkey...The Turkish ambassador
Had been there recently...All going to Syria..
Mccain and hillary are good, close friends. Letting him or lindsay in on the committee will only be so that they can destroy any actual investigation.
Plus, the dems will get a majority of senate seats on the that part of the committee?
On ipad, sry
May have been part of the plan all along ... misdirection.
It sounds as though the GOP Senators are hoping to drag Barry’s ‘nads out of the fire.
Thank you Senator McCain for your interest in participating in the select committee on Benghazi. Unfortunately, as a suspected un-indicted co-conspirator in the matter I am unable to honor your request at this time due to the obvious conflict of interest. Please pass this on to your wife, the Hon. Senator Graham.
please give the date and hour of the JBS that discusses this.
Seems this bicameral idea would be a backdoor way to load the committee with equal numbers of pubbies and dhimmicraps; just as Nazi Pelousy (and the white hut, no doubt) would like.
Keep it in the House. Constitute it with a majority pubbies, as is the case with other committees in the House. And, let Trey Gowdy get to work.
Popcorn at the ready.
Blood in the water. Watch what happens when the GOP takes the senate. Jan 1, 2015 impeachment proceedings begin. That plus Hillary is indicted for murder conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
I trust that Rep. Gowdy is sharp enough to see through this ploy by the Senate GOPe Republicans. Any productive action by the select committee would be undermined. If Gowdy were able to personally select the members from the Senate, that might be a different matter. But, I’m certain that isn’t what Sessions, Mc Cain, or Graham have in mind.
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