Republicans allege Benghazi ‘cover up,’ but of what exactly?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29, 2012.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29, 2012.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Republicans have set the stage for another round of congressional hearings about Benghazi on Wednesday and, this time, they’re promising explosive new testimony from a series of self-described “whistle blowers.”

The dam is about to break on Benghazi,” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News Monday.

According to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the “cover up” involving the deaths of four Americans is “more serious than Watergate” and will likely drive the president to an early exit from the Oval Office. On Monday, Huckabee told listeners of his radio show:

I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term. I know that puts me on a limb… But this is not minor. It wasn’t minor when Richard Nixon lied to the American people and worked with those in his administration to cover up what really happened in Watergate. But, I remind you—as bad as Watergate was, because it broke the trust between the president and the people, no one died. This is more serious because four Americans did in fact die.

This is hardly the first time that Republicans have compared Benghazi to Watergate. Although it may resonate in certain circles, the comparison to Watergate may also raise as many problems for Republicans who see a major scandal behind the deadly September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya. That’s because, with Watergate, it was easy to see what was being covered up. (There was, after all, that little matter of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee.) With Benghazi, even the biggest supporters of more investigation seem to have a hard time saying what the White House is trying to hide.

For example, in a recent interview on FOX & Friends featuring Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a perennial voice for the GOP about the administration’s misdeeds in Benghazi, the Utah Republican struggled in his answer to a straightforward question: “Congressman, it sounds like what you’ve described, it sounds like there’s been a cover up, but what we’re they trying to cover up?”

“Well, again, this is why we’re fighting for the truth,” Chaffetz said in a response not likely to persuade Benghazi skeptics that his “fight for the truth” amounts to anything more than an open-ended fishing expedition for material to damage his political opponents. Perhaps this is why Rep. Elijah Cummings,  the ranking Democrat on the committee that will hear from the co-called “whistle blowers” Wednesday, has criticized his Republican colleagues so sharply, saying, “Members of Congress have an obligation to actually investigate claims before coming to conclusions and making public accusations. Unfortunately, House Republicans have taken the opposite approach.”

On Tuesday, msnbc host Martin Bashir talked about Benghazi with James Peterson of Lehigh University and Jonathan Alter of Bloomberg View. You can watch it here: 

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Republicans allege Benghazi 'cover up,' but of what exactly?