By Doug Porter
Four years of trash-talking by Republicans in Congress following an attack on the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya appears to have come to an end.
Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee released an 800-page report Tuesday morning, full of broad denunciations and thin on actual proof of wrongdoing. Eight different investigations, a boatload of incriminatory headlines added up to “woulda, shoulda, coulda.”
The ‘scandal’ that was supposed to bring Hillary Clinton down before the 2016 primaries turned into an opportunity for her show grit during an 11-hour marathon testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last October.
CNN has a terrific 3 minute summary of that day:
From the Los Angeles Times:
The 800-page report, which Democrats on the committee denounced — even before it was released — as a sham focused on discrediting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, found that the Department of State under her leadership did an inadequate job of protecting its staff in Benghazi. It accuses the Obama administration of incompetence at various levels, including a failure to deploy needed military assets, CIA intelligence reports that were “rife with errors” and misguided planning in the midst of the violence.
The report is certain to be a springboard for Republicans looking to weaken Clinton. But it is unlikely to be a potent tool, after Democrats spent months working to discredit the committee and its focus on the former secretary of State. The final report is a less damning indictment of Clinton than her supporters had anticipated. It includes no new evidence of wrongdoing by her, focusing more broadly on the Obama administration.
The report also comes as the committee has struggled to maintain its credibility. Its all-day grilling of Clinton last fall in Washington was seen largely as a flop, as she deftly dispensed with politically tinged questioning that lacked focus or any new revelations. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s gloating on cable news that the committee would hurt Clinton’s White House chances also fueled the narrative that it was not a serious fact-finding mission.
The Email Story
The biggest discovery of the Benghazi investigations was that Secretary of State Clinton used a private email server. This morning an additional 165 pages of emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch.
Despite yet another round of headlines, promising “bombshell revelations” the latest batch of emails is likely to be forgotten by the weekend. There have been gaffes, embarrassing disclosures, policy violations, and insider power plays revealed in previous emails, but nothing rising to the level of a criminal offense.
Here’s a snip from the Associated Press on the most recent release:
In a blistering audit released last month, the State Department’s inspector general concluded Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup violated federal records-keeping standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers.
The audit also cited a then-unreleased copy of a November 2010 email Clinton sent Abedin in which the secretary discussed using a government email account, expressing concern that she didn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible.”
Clinton never used a government account that was set up for her, instead continuing to rely on her private server until leaving office in 2013. Though Clinton’s work-related emails were government records, she didn’t turn over copies until more than 30 lawsuits were filed, including one by The Associated Press.
The Democrats A to Z Report
Meanwhile, the Democrats on the committee beat the Republicans by a day, releasing their analysis on Benghazi on Monday.
From the New York Times:
While that discovery has reverberated throughout the campaign, Democrats have long denounced the select committee’s investigation as a politically motivated crusade against Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and a colossal waste of taxpayer money.
The Democrats on the committee — summarizing their complaints most recently in a report they issued on Monday, seeking to pre-empt the Republicans’ findings — said that the Benghazi effort had dragged on longer than far more important congressional inquiries like the ones into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
In their report, the Democrats also complained that they had been excluded from the development of the panel’s conclusions. They said they had not been given a draft of the final report or allowed to contribute to it.
The Democratic Dissent, titled Select Committee Squandered Millions of Dollars in a Partisan Effort to Attack a Presidential Candidate, offered up an “A to Z” (really!) list of examples of egregious conduct by the GOP committee members.
As one of the longest and most partisan congressional investigations in history, the Select Committee’s actions serve as a case study in how not to conduct a credible, legitimate investigation.
The Select Committee broke the promise it made to the American people—to address the attacks in Benghazi in a fair and balanced manner that would lead to improved security for Americans serving overseas.
The abuse of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds for partisan purposes—to influence a Presidential election—discredits the House of Representatives. It is a disservice to the American public, the men and women who serve our nation, and the families of those who were killed during the attacks.
On this day of Benghazi nothingness, let us not forget our own Congressman Darrell Issa’s bit part in this committee’s political drama.
And here’s a tip of the hat (okay, maybe a middle finger) to the delusional Bernie Sanders supporters who have done such a great job of carrying water for Republicans in recent weeks.
— Bernie is our HERO!! (@ILoveBernie1) June 28, 2016
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Opening Act
The Senator from Massachusetts went on the road to Ohio yesterday with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
She made mincemeat of Donald Trump:
Goldsmith Knows the Way to San Jose
Remember back in the days when Carl DeMaio and his cronies were confidently predicting that other cities in California would follow San Diego and San Jose by instituting ‘pension reforms’?
What looked to be a voter-approved solution for budgetary problems hasn’t quite worked out the way its backers thought it would.
In San Diego, Proposition B is headed into uncertain waters, as unions have thus far successfully argued that they were legally entitled to a sit down prior to presenting the deal to the voters.
In San Jose, they made the political mistake of including police officers in the pension-cutting mix and ended up short-handed, along with a slew of lawsuits. Voters who were thrilled just a few months earlier by employee-bashing hyperbole went “oops!”
Current San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo –who once was a supporter of the reforms– has crafted a legal settlement with the unions seeking to overturn the measure based on a ‘procedural defect.’
From the Mercury News:
But one of Liccardo’s former allies, former Councilman Pete Constant, along with the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, filed legal papers to stop the city from “undoing the voters’ will.” And now San Diego is joining in that fight by filing an amicus brief, which allows the city to participate in the argument of the case even though it’s not a litigant.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Beth McGowen in April approved the city’s request to overturn Measure B on a “procedural defect.” Constant and his group appealed, winning a temporary stay in the case last month.
San Diego’s city attorney, Jan Goldsmith, voiced support for the stay in a 10-page letter — undoubtedly an attempt to protect his city’s Prop B pension reform measure from suffering the same fate.
“If the Stay Order were vacated, the invalidation of a voter approved initiative through a negotiated settlement, without a confirming vote of the people, would become an extremely troubling precedent for the City of San Diego,” Goldsmith wrote.
On This Day: 1894-President Grover Cleveland signed legislation declaring Labor Day a national holiday. 1964 – Malcolm X founded the Organization for Afro American Unity to seek independence for blacks in the Western Hemisphere. 1975 – David Bowie’s “Fame” was released.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.