When Republicans created the Benghazi Committee, and shaped it to be as brazenly partisan and political as possible, there was considerable talk in Democratic circles about simply refusing to participate in the charade. House Dems eventually decided it would be worthwhile to have some role in the process, so the boycott chatter was waved off.
More recently, when Republicans began to admit that the entire exercise is a taxpayer-funded election scheme, the discussion began anew, but again, Democrats decided to stick around for a while longer.
Rachel asked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) about this last night. The California Democrat, who also happens to be the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, conceded he was glad to have been on the dais for Hillary Clinton’s testimony, but he added that the future is murky.But after yesterday’s 11-hour spectacle, do Dems on the committee intend to remain on the panel indefinitely?
MADDOW: Now that this has happened, Chairman Gowdy was asked by reporters as he was leaving the committee room if he could identify a single new piece of information that he learned from today`s hearing. He could not name one. Now that that has happened and this is behind you and you saw how it went, what about that question of whether or not Democrats should continue to participate? Is this still an open question for you guys?SCHIFF: Well, I think it is an open question. And part of the reason why it`s still open is the Republicans haven`t given us any idea what happens tomorrow. In other words, everything`s been building up to today. They don`t – they haven`t told us. My guess is they don`t even know themselves where they want to go from here.
I’d guess the same thing. In fact, it’s why I find it hard to imagine how anyone, anywhere, will be able to justify the committee’s continued existence with a straight face.
Consider this Huffington Post piece, referencing a development Rachel mentioned to Schiff.
[Rep. Trey Gowdy], chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, was asked by reporters what new details came from his panel’s 11 hours of grilling the former secretary of state over her response to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.“Uh,” Gowdy said, pausing for several seconds.
The South Carolina Republican eventually conceded, “I don’t know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous time she testified.”
I see. So, House Republicans badgered Clinton for 11 hours, rehashing questions that have already been answered, forcing the former Secretary of State to explain the same things she’s already explained, and the only thing Gowdy has to show for the spectacle is a disappointed Republican base.
The “now what?” question need not be rhetorical. This has already been one of the longest congressional investigations in the history of the United States. The GOP lawmakers running the inquiry appear to have no idea how best to proceed, or even what additional information they’re looking for.
No one can accuse Democrats of being impatient; they’ve obviously made a good-faith effort over the course of a lengthy, redundant probe. But the committee has abandoned any sense of credibility or seriousness, and yesterday might as well serve as the coda to one of the more offensive political investigations in recent memory.
The question isn’t whether Democrats should walk away from this fiasco; the question is whether Republicans will be tempted to join them.