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Posts in "Benghazi"
August 22, 2014
After an extended period of quiet, the special committee for investigating the attacks in Benghazi may be readying for action.
Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. announced Friday he has hired a retired three-star general to lead the panel’s legal team.
Lt. Gen. Dana K. Chipman was the senior military lawyer for the Army for four years as judge advocate general at the Pentagon, Gowdy’s office said. He retired last November after 33 years on active duty.
June 9, 2014
The House is back in Washington for almost two full months, but don’t look for a lot of breakthroughs: GOP leadership has pared back big-ticket wish lists, choosing instead to sprint for the August recess with a relatively modest legislative agenda.
There is less and less serious talk of an overhaul of immigration, a rewrite of the tax code or replacing the Democrats’ health care law. Instead, it’s much more likely the next two months of House floor action — roughly 28 legislative days before a monthlong summer recess — will be consumed by such small-bore economic measures as targeted tax extenders and energy regulation bills.
May 28, 2014
Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn more about the new special House committee tasked with investigating the Obama administration’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens. The election-year probe will command attention and keep the focus on both President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers a 2016 presidential bid.
Hang on to this handy chart, put together by reporter Daniel Newhauser, to keep track of the 12 lawmakers appointed by House leaders to serve on the panel, officially dubbed the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy serves as chairman, and Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland serves as the committee’s ranking member.
The committee Republicans are Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama and Susan W. Brooks of Indiana.
The committee Democrats are Adam Smith of Washington, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Adam B. Schiff and Linda T. Sánchez, both of California.
May 27, 2014
Rep. Darrell Issa’s decision to press on with his House panel’s Benghazi investigation, despite the creation of a new select committee to look into the 2012 terror attack in Libya, is an indication the California Republican is “going rogue,” a leading Democrat said Tuesday.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings said that Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is undermining the new special select committee created by Speaker John A. Boehner and chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
“I think he is going rogue,” Issa, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” with Al Sharpton. “I actually believe that Chairman Issa is out of control, I really believe that.”
May 23, 2014
Updated 3:58 p.m. | Secretary of State John Kerry will testify June 12 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — but, the State Department says he won’t be going before the new special select committee on Benghazi.
In a letter to Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, the State Department said Kerry is open to testifying about Benghazi in June.
Earlier this month, the Oversight Committee subpoenaed Kerry to testify on May 29. Due to diplomatic responsibilities, the State Department said Kerry was unavailable for that date, but said he could testify on June 12 or June 20.
Issa agreed to June 12 Friday, spokesman Frederick Hill said in a statement.
Because Kerry has agreed to testify before the Oversight panel, the State Department said there is no need for him to testify before the Benghazi committee. Full story
May 22, 2014
A broad and familiar coalition of Republicans and Democrats came together Thursday to pass an annual Pentagon policy bill, with House GOP leadership largely ducking some of the more contentious debates and amendments related to the National Defense Authorization Act.
As a veto threat loomed over the bill — the White House has threatened a veto on the defense authorization act for years and has yet to interrupt the 52-year streak of the president signing the measure into law — House lawmakers voted 325-98 to pass a bill authorizing more than $590 billion for defense activities in fiscal 2015.
While the House went late into the night Wednesday disposing of 169 amendments made in order for floor consideration, much of the debate on the bill focused on what the House wouldn’t be debating.
The most notable amendment excluded was a proposal from Rep. Jeff Denham to give certain undocumented immigrants legal status in exchange for enlisting in the military.
During last year’s defense authorization, the Rules Committee made in order that proposal from the California Republican, but GOP leadership convinced Denham to withdraw his amendment on the floor.
This year, with immigration one of the touchiest issues in the House, leaders decided not to give Denham the choice; they killed the amendment in the Rules Committee before it could ever get a vote. Full story
May 21, 2014
Updated, 5:33 p.m., May 21 | The House Democrats appointed to the special committee on Benghazi said Tuesday that they consider the panel unnecessary, but will participate if only to ensure Republicans do not politicize the deaths of four Americans.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said that after weeks of negotiations with Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, Republicans made no hard commitments that Democrats would be given power in procedural decisions made on the committee.
Yet Pelosi said she decided to name five Democrats to serve on the special committee looking into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, because she believes the investigation into the attack carried out by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., had been run unfairly. Full story
After dithering on the issue for several weeks, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is leaning toward appointing members to the special committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, according to a senior Democratic aide.
The California Democrat met with Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio on Tuesday, seeking assurances that the committee would be procedurally fair and that Democrats would be considered in decisions about issuing subpoenas and calling witnesses. Immediately after meeting with the speaker, Pelosi met with her leadership and followed that up with a 10 a.m. meeting with the team again on Wednesday.
“No decision has been made, but Pelosi is now leaning toward appointing a full complement of members to the Select Committee on Benghazi,” the aide said. “Talks between Pelosi and Boehner staff continue this morning on remaining items Democrats are asking for to ensure fairness, transparency and balance with respect to the committee’s proceedings and operations.”
Pelosi will meet with her team again later this afternoon.
May 20, 2014
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California met for an hour on Tuesday to discuss the special committee established to investigate the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, yet the two sides emerged no closer to a resolution.
Democrats have expressed concern that the committee would be highly politicized and partisan and have not yet decided whether to appoint minority members to the panel. Aides have said they feel as if they will be ramrodded when it comes to subpoena decisions and witness interviews.
Both sides, however, were tight-lipped coming out of the meeting, except to say that general concerns were discussed. Full story
House Democrats are still weighing whether they will appoint members to the GOP-led special committee to investigate the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya — but don’t call it a caucus-wide “division,” two senior lawmakers implored.
“[It's] the wrong word,” Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “The caucus is not divided. … What the caucus is doing is helping our leadership come up with a plan on how to approach what is a very serious issue.”
“Democrats’ concern has always been whether this will be a legitimate process, to make a sincere effort to learn something new, or whether it’s really … a campaign cash-raising tool,” added Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California. Full story
May 16, 2014
The State Department would not confirm Thursday night whether John Kerry will appear at a new Benghazi hearing scheduled May 29 by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, who hours earlier issued another subpoena for the secretary of state.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said discussions with the House panel are ongoing, but that no agreement had been reached.
“This is now the second time in 14 days that the Secretary of State has been subpoenaed while traveling overseas representing the United States on urgent national security issues. This time the subpoena was accompanied by a headline-grabbing, highly political tweet attacking the integrity of the State Department itself,” Harf said in a statement.
“This is not the way legitimate and responsible oversight is conducted, and it’s a departure from the days when Rep. Issa himself once lamented that a Secretary of State should not be distracted from the work of national security to testify at the barrel of a subpoena. As we have said, and we reiterate today, we will continue to work with the Committee to resolve their request, but we have not made arrangements for a hearing date, and we hope to explore with them whether there are witnesses better suited to answer their questions and meet their needs for oversight.” Full story
May 15, 2014
House Democrats still haven’t named members to the Select Committee on Benghazi, but Rep. Trey Gowdy, the appointed chairman of the panel that boasts a full slate of Republicans, is staffing up.
On Thursday afternoon, the South Carolina Republican announced that Phil Kiko would come on board as majority staff director.
“Phil brings with him years of experience serving in various capacities in the House and the Executive Branch, including top positions for three Committees,” Gowdy said in a statement. “He has a proven record of effective leadership and management, and I am pleased to have him on our team as we conduct a serious, fact-driven investigation to ensure our fellow Americans know the full truth about what happened in Benghazi.”
May 14, 2014
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday that she remains undecided about whether to allow Democrats to participate in the special committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, telling CNN she is unconvinced Republicans will conduct the probe fairly.
“We’ll see. I mean, the point is we want to show … how unfair this process is,” she said on “The Situation Room,” when asked whether she would appoint members. “I think what they have in mind is to control the documents, to control the witnesses, come to their own conclusions. We’ll have to make a decision about what the best way is to showcase their unfairness.”
Pelosi said Democrats are divided about whether to participate in the committee, or to what extent. She said she plans to meet with Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to discuss the matter further, but claimed that, “he’s trying to avoid the meeting.”
“The speaker had suggested that we meet before we proceed with this. We haven’t had that meeting yet,” she said.
May 13, 2014
A subpoena for John Kerry to testify before Congress next week on Benghazi has been put on hold while the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the State Department negotiate when — or if — the secretary of state will appear.
Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, said Monday night that Kerry will be in Mexico May 21 on a previously scheduled trip, and that the department is working with the committee to “explore whether there are better means of addressing the Committee’s interests, including through a more appropriate witness.”
She said there has been no deal on arrangements for an alternative date.
“We and the Committee have been in touch to determine how to resolve their subpoena, but we have not yet made arrangements for a hearing date. We look forward to addressing the matters raised in the Committee’s letter and subpoena,” she said in a statement. Full story
May 12, 2014
Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that a Democratic boycott of the special committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, will not impede the panel from doing its work, but the Ohio Republican said he is trying to assure Democrats of a fair process.
Boehner said that if Democrats do not appoint members to the special committee, Republicans will have to hold themselves to a higher standard so as not to appear partisan.
“It will not impede the investigation. I do think it will cause us to have to adhere to a higher standard if they don’t participate, but this is about one issue, it’s about getting to the truth of what happened on Sept. 11, 2012,” Boehner said, speaking at a question-and-answer session at a luncheon hosted by several San Antonio chambers of commerce. Full story