What is the purpose, timetable and milestones for the Benghazi Committee?

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Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2014 — After first saying that she hoped that House Republicans would not go down the path of another committee on Benghazi, Nancy Pelosi today announced that the following Democrats will join the seven Republicans on the Select Committee:

Elijah Eugene Cummings, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district. Cummings, who has served since 1996, will be ranking member of the Committee. Cummings is the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Joint Economic Committee.

Adam Smith, U.S. Representative for Washington’s 9th congressional district. Smith is ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. The House Armed Services committee oversees six subcommittees including: Tactical Air and Land Forces, Military Personnel, Oversight and Investigations, Readiness, Seapower and Projection Forces, Strategic Forces and Emerging Threats and Capabilities


Adam Schiff, U.S. Representative for California’s 28th congressional district. Now in his 7th term in the House, Schiff serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Linda Sanchez, U.S. Representative for California’s 38th Congressional district. Sanchez is Senior Democratic Whip and is in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Sanchez is ranking member on the House Ethics Committee, House Committee on Ways and Means and Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, and the Subcommittee on Oversight.

Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 8th District. Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth is on the House Armed Services Committee, with subcommittee assignments on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Oversight and Investigations and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee assignments, Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs and Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements. Duckworth continues to drill as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Pelosi apparently finalized her decision to appoint Democrats to the panel after meeting with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday to discuss the committee.

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Pelosi has been very vocal in her disappointment in the Committee, calling it nothing more than a “witch-hunt.” She restated that view today, saying that appointing Democrats to the Committee does not mean that she is “applying any validity” to the process.

She says that two Benghazi families have told her they do not want Benghazi reopened, saying, in Pelosi’s words, “Please don’t take us down this path again.”

Pelosi may have received a call from a family member; however, according to a source close to the Benghazi investigation, there are more family members who want the Benghazi Select Committee to go forward than don’t.

Pelosi has questioned the purpose of the Committee and asserted that an all-Republican Committee would result in lopsided and inaccurate findings.

This appears, unfortunately, to be the only force to motivate Pelosi to name the Democratic contingent to join the Committee.

What is the purpose, the timetable and the milestones: What are they hoping to achieve? 

Boehner, who had avoided appointing a committee for months, finally agreed to calls from other Republicans to set a committee after a Freedom of Information Request released emails showing that the White House was involved in framing the narrative, including Susan Rice’s remarks on Sunday morning talk shows, following the attacks.

Pelosi says that what happened is no longer of interest to the American people, who only want to know how to make sure it does not happen again.

Republicans joining chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., are Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., the deputy majority whip; Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a leader in the House’s conservative bloc; Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a military veteran and member of the Intelligence Committee; and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., who is also on the Intelligence Committee and is a deputy chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign committee; Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who led another investigation of the Sept. 11 Benghazi raid as chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., a former U.S. attorney.

Pompeo has said  that the task of the Committee is to undertake “a fact-based inquiry” and that “I hope we get everybody working together to get to the right set of facts.”

Gowdy is a well respected federal prosecutor and state district attorney is known for being fair and tough in the courtroom. He is respected by both Republicans and Democrats.

“I have no friends to reward and no foes to punish,” the South Carolina Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re going to go wherever the facts take us. Facts are neither Republican nor Democratic, they are facts.” “If we overplay our hand or we engage in a process that is not fair according to the American people, then we will be punished, as we should be,” Gowdy told Fox’s Chris Wallace.

However, Gowdy’s popularity is not universal:

“To call Gowdy prosecutorial would be an understatement,” The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman wrote. “Uniformly angry and outraged … Gowdy always seemingly on the verge of shouting, he’s so damn mad.”

Gowdy has clearly stated the questions the Committee will address:

Q1. Can you tell me why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi the night that he was killed? Do you know? Does it bother you whether or not you know why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi?

Q2. Do you know why we were the last flag flying in Benghazi, after the British had left and the Red Cross had been bombed?

Q3. Do you know why requests for additional security were denied?

Q4. Do you know why an Ambassador asking for more security days and weeks before he was murdered and those requests went unheeded? Do you know the reason why those requests went unheeded?

Q5. Do you know why no assets were deployed during the siege? And I’ve heard the explanation, which defies logic frankly, that we couldn’t have gotten there in time. But you know they didn’t know when it was going to end. So how can you possibly cite that as an excuse?

Despite Democratic participation, however, many in the party remain opposed to the Committee.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that Republicans have “clearly already decided what the outcome is going to be.”

“I just think we should consider not sanctioning it or treating it as legitimate, because it isn’t,” Wasserman Schutlz said, echoing the response of Pelosi to the Senate Committee.

While strong fault lines remain, Democratic participation at least reduces the likelihood that any Committee findings will be branded as partisan. It provides the possibility, however remote, that the Committee can move away from the partisan politics that so clearly dominate Washington and instead provide answers to the victims of Benghazi and the American people.

We can hope that, regardless of politics, the members of the Committee will approach the investigation with ears open. The answers to these questions really do matter, for the safety of American’s all over the world.

That should be light that guides this committee.

A trip to Twitter shows some of what America is thinking:

Next Up:  The Benghazi Talking Points – Who said what, when and why?

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  • Robert Caleb Potter

    Whats the problem Nancy? If this committee can provide the answers to Trey Goudys questions then that should do it. However I am betting it will be difficult to get those answers simply because the administration believes it is better to be a suspected incompetent than a proven one.

  • mrd21999

    Time for this wack job to go – how she ever got elected is beyond me. Must be the voters are dumber than she is.

    • MrNewCastrati

      San Francisco. What do you expect?

  • Robert Rivera

    The knucklehead keeps bringing up these two families that she says, “don’t want to go down this road again”, even if that’s true, which I doubt, she is willing to completely blow-off the other families? What a wretched beast.

    • jkubin

      I spend the day reading what writers write and you can tell when they are writing what “they” say and what someone else might say (as in a quote, or source material, CDN writers do not plagiarize). For example, the bio’s of the Committee members come directly from their web pages. Pelosi using the exact same words “down the path” as to how SHE feels makes me questions who said “we don’t want to go down the path again…”

    • Thomas E Sewick

      okay give them names or let the families tell us

  • sickntired

    This woman is a joke…. and Cummings shouldn’t be allowed on any committee at this point, he’s involved in the IRS scandal.

  • pokenhorn

    Our commander, Obama, abandoned our people in a site of violence and anti-American hatred. He threw down his rifle and he ran and hid, Then he lied. And lied some more. Then he got his minions to lie too. Then he transferred potential witnesses to far-off, anonymous posts so they couldn’t be called to testify. We have never had anyone disgrace the office of the presidency like he has. It is his good luck that so many citizens are blind and uncomprehending. Or maybe being perceived as the Santa Claus president will overcome such traits as treason, incompetence, and malfeasance

  • Guest

    Will Trey Gowdy be able to kick anyone off the Committee if they are causing problems?

  • DerangedMuppet

    “Boehner, who had avoided appointing a committee for months, finally agreed” Kind of makes me wonder if he got the “all clear” from higher up, as you KNOW this whole time, they’ve been going through and “burning” evidence about anything and everything they were up to! I don’t doubt that they are putting in the democrats to both try to intercept any kind of evidence that may have been over-looked, and to report back to pelosi everything going on so she can try to stay 1 step ahead of Trey…

  • Guest

    testing the approval

  • No curse words, nothing profane, yet my comment is awaiting approval? Nice free speech.

  • Thomas E Sewick

    I just want to know who gave the stand down order, why wasn’t POTUS in the situation room, why was the Marines pulled out, why were the pleas for more security denied, where were the armed drones, and who came up with the stupid idea of a video, why did POTUS and Sec of State lie to the families why were the talking points changed just a few questions

  • MrNewCastrati

    First order of business: Cut off Elijah’s mike.