When Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi released their 800-page report this week, it landed with a thud. After years of investigations, hearings, interviews, depositions, misleading media links, and breathless coverage, GOP lawmakers once again discovered that all of their conspiracy theories were wrong. Ironically, the partisan panel, created to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, accidentally exonerated her.
But at least it’s over, right? The longest congressional investigation in the history of the United States may have ended with a whimper, but at least it ended?
Actually, no. The Huffington Post had this piece yesterday.
A day after releasing an 800-page report that failed to pin any fresh blame on Hillary Clinton, the House Select Committee on Benghazi was back to work Wednesday, interviewing a man who allegedly used the hashtag “#ifyouvoteforhillaryyouarebeyondstupid.”The report the committee released Tuesday was not necessarily the final product, as it has a working session and a vote on whether to adopt it set for July 8.
This isn’t a joke. The Benghazi Committee’s GOP members have already come to the conclusion that U.S. military forces couldn’t have reached the Libyan city in 2012 in time to make a difference, but GOP committee members nevertheless want to hear sworn testimony from an Air Force mechanic who reached the opposite conclusion in a partisan post on Facebook.
In other words, the final report has been released to the public, but Republicans aren’t giving up, and the search for evidence that doesn’t exist continues.
In a press statement yesterday, Benghazi Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said, “Republicans are addicted to Benghazi and to exploiting this tragedy for political reasons. If we needed any more evidence that this investigation was a partisan charade, now we have it.”
Cummings added, “One day after issuing their ‘final’ report, Republicans are requiring yet another witness to be flown to Washington so they can investigate his postings on social media. Why in the world should the American taxpayers be forced to continue paying millions of dollars for Republicans to chase down unsubstantiated conspiracy theories against Secretary Clinton?”
That need not be a rhetorical question.
It’s worth noting that the last surprise witness didn’t work out well for GOP lawmakers. Remember “John from Iowa”? Republicans on the Benghazi Committee heard about a caller to a right-wing radio show who claimed to have evidence that contradicted the official line. The panel demanded the Pentagon track the man down; Defense Department officials said this is stupid.
Committee Republicans tracked down “John from Iowa” anyway, and it turns out – try to contain your surprise – he had nothing new to offer. But GOP lawmakers are still furious with the Pentagon for failing to find a witness who turned out to be irrelevant, and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) has already issued subpoenas to DOD officials. Despite the apparent end of the probe this week, those confrontations may yet occur.
Those of us waiting for this farce to come to an official end will have to be patient. The Republican “addiction” to Benghazi continues.
Update: Also note, the right is turning on Trey Gowdy in a big way.