Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is back to her old conspiracy theory tricks, blaming the Republicans for any scandals that cause her or caused her husband former President Bill Clinton problems. Clinton is now on a crusade to blame Congressional Republicans for the Benghazi investigation. The former Secretary of State appeared Monday morning, Oct. 5, 2015, on NBC’s the “Today” show where she spoke with host Savannah Guthrie attacking the Republicans for going after her usage of a private server during her tenure, saying it is a partisan political attack. The next day on Tuesday, Oct. 6 Clinton’s campaign also released an ad about the attacks by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Ever since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy linked the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s probe to making Clinton’s email server public and Clinton’s falling campaign poll numbers, Clinton and the Democrats have been in attack mode over McCarthy’s comments using it to defend Clinton.
Hillary Clinton appeared on the “Today” show as part of nationally televised New Hampshire town hall event. Clinton accused Republicans of “politicizing” and “exploiting, the 2012 Benghazi, Libya terrorist attacks to sabotage her presidential campaign. Guthrie asked Clinton if she would have done the same investigation if members if Republican George W. Bush’s administration, Vice President Dick Cheney or advisor Karl Rove would have used a private email server. Clinton trying to act morally superior, said absolutely, “I would never have done that.”
The former Secretary of State accused the Republicans of politicizing the terrorist attack, and Ambassador Christopher Steven’s death. Clinton tried to make the probe a personal attack on her, saying, “Look at the situation they chose to exploit to go after me for political reasons, the death of four Americans in Benghazi. I knew the ambassador [Christopher Stevens]. I identified him. I asked him to go there. I asked the president to nominate him.
Clinton commented how reprehensible the House GOP are for politicizing the deaths in the terror attacks. Clinton expressed, “There have been seven investigations, led mostly by Republicans in the Congress. They were nonpartisan, and they reached conclusions that, first of all, I and nobody did anything wrong, but there were changes we could make. This committee was set up, as they have admitted, for the purpose of making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans. I would never have done that. If I were president and there were Republicans or Democrats thinking about that, I would have done everything to shut it down.”
Those words echo those Clinton said in her first response to McCarthy‘s statement. Clinton remarked in her interview with MSNBC last Wednesday, Sept. 30, “When I hear a statement like that, which demonstrates unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan, political exercise, I feel like it does a grave disservice and dishonors not just the memory of the four that we lost but of everybody who has served our country.”
Clinton also took advantage and her campaign created and released on Tuesday, Oct. 6 an ad entitled “Admit” capitalizing on McCarthy’s gaffe. The narrator states, “The Republicans finally admit it,” and the narrator also accused, “Republicans have spent millions attacking Hillary because she’s fighting for everything they oppose.” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short responded with a statement, saying, “If multiple investigations by the Obama Administration – including the FBI – are part of a partisan plot to take down Hillary Clinton, then Hell really must have frozen over.”
The Republicans are facing a backlash over the Benghazi Committee after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made comments linking the probe to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s falling poll numbers. Republicans have been spending Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, trying to clean up the mess the favorite candidate for House speakership made Tuesday evening, Sept. 29 during a Fox News interview. Democrats are threatening to withdraw their participation and disband in the probe, while Clinton is trying to use this moment to seek to build momentum for her floundering campaign.
Tuesday evening McCarthy was trying to sell his announcement and candidacy for the Speaker of the House on Fox News’ “Hannity,” where he boasted about the Benghazi committee probe is ruining Clinton’s support in the 2016 presidential campaign. McCarthy is widely considered outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner natural successor although he has only held the majority leader post just a year.
McCarthy commented about what how the investigation has altered the public’s view of Clinton, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable.” McCarthy made the mistake of giving the Republicans credit for hindering her campaign, “But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”
McCarthy’s remarks also did the opposite of what he wanted they helped Clinton attack the Republicans and allowed her to deflect the scandal away from her responsibility and make it a Republican creation out to ruin her. A Clinton campaign aide told the Hill, “This could potentially be a watershed moment for the Benghazi committee.”
The House Majority Leader McCarthy’s bragging caused problems for the Republicans and jeopardized the legitimacy of the Benghazi probe. The backlash forced Republicans to defend McCarthy and the Benghazi committee. Outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner issued a statement defending the probe, saying, “This investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton and never will be. The American people deserve the truth about what happened in Benghazi. That’s always been our focus, and that’s going to remain our focus.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) the chairman of the House Benghazi Committee also vehemently defended his committee. Speaking on Wednesday, Sept. 30 Gowdy argued the committee barely even mentions, Clinton, “I would just encourage people to look at what is done as opposed necessarily to what is said. If you look at what we’ve done, I never mentioned (Clinton’s) name during a committee hearing. We’ve interviewed 54 people, and not a single one named Clinton. Of the next 50, one will be named Clinton.”
Gowdy also pointed that Clinton’s private email server may have been uncovered by the committee, but unless an email has to do with Benghazi, her emails are not the committee’s focus. Gowdy explained, “Before the email story happened, nobody really paid a lot of attention to our committee. It wasn’t in the news. I get why people are interested in that. But the email is a very small part of what we’re doing. In fact, if it doesn’t relate to Libya or Benghazi emails, it’s no part of our committee.”
Other members of the House especially those from the GOP Freedom Caucus who oppose McCarthy as the next speaker criticized him and demanded that he apologize. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who is challenging McCarthy for the speakership was one of the Republicans to express this sentiment. Chaffetz called the majority leader’s remarks and “inappropriate statement.” Chaffetz appeared CNN’s “The Situation Room” last Thursday where he told host Wolf Blitzer, “I think he should apologize. I think he should withdraw it. I think it’s an absolute inaccurate statement as to what we’re doing.”
McCarthy also defended his remarks clarifying his words in a Fox News interview with Bret Baier on Special Report with Bret Baier last Thursday, Oct. 1. McCarthy said, “This committee was set up for one sole purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families of four dead Americans.” The House Majority leader wanted to ensure to the public that in no way was his comment meant to imply that the committee’s goals are politically motivated or partisan in nature. McCarthy explained. “I did not intend to imply in any way that that work is political. Of course, it is not. This committee’s sole purpose is to find the truth, why four Americans were killed that night, and that’s the work they have done, that’s the hearings they’ve done.”
Democratic leadership quickly threatened to pull the plug and withdraw their participation and called on Republicans to end the investigation. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) along with other Democrats sent Speaker Boehner a letter, requesting that it disband the committee. In the letter Reid wrote, “It is unconscionable that the U.S. House of Representatives is continuing to use millions of dollars of taxpayer funds for political purposes, and we urge you to immediately disband the Select Committee on Benghazi,” and other Senior Senate Democrats said in a letter to Boehner on Thursday. Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid also warned House Republicans about McCarthy saying, “They better take a look at who they are going to elect as Speaker.”
At House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the investigation as “unethical” at her Capitol Hill press briefing, but did not tell Democrats members to stop participating. Pelosi expressed, “It’s just a stunning admission on the part of the Republican leader that the Benghazi Committee was created with a political purpose in mind. In fact, it’s really an ethical question. It makes the whole operation practically an unethical operation.” Pelosi wants Republicans to disband the committee, saying, “I’m calling on Republicans to shut (the committee) down,” Pelosi commented on Democrats future involvement in the committee, “How long we will participate depends on how serious they are, and we haven’t seen any signs of seriousness.”
Democrats planned their first attempt to close down the Benghazi committee. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) proposed to add an amendment to the bill creating the “new select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood” at the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, to close the committee; the amendment failed by a vote of 7 to 2.
Democrats have been rebelling with other methods, on Monday, Oct. 5 Democrats on the committee released some “portions” of Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills’ closed-door testimony from September, and the five committee members are threatening to release the entire testimony. Mills was responsible for shifting through Clinton’s emails on her server and determining, which of the emails were part of her permanent work record and those that were Clinton’s personal emails.
The Democratic committee sent Rep. Gowdy a letter giving him five days to say why Mills’ testimony should remain unpublished based on national security reasons. In the letter, the Democratic members accused the committee of making false accusations. The Democrats wrote, “We believe it is time to begin releasing the transcripts of interviews conducted by the Select Committee in order to correct the public record after numerous inaccurate Republican leaks, and we plan to begin this process by releasing the full transcript of Ms. Mills’ interview.”
Republicans responded by accusing Democrats using these violating House rules to help Clinton, and they are the ones politicizing the probe. The members are supporters of Clinton’s, and they have endorsed her presidential candidacy. Gowdy’s spokesman Jamal Ware called it “naked political motivation…. without regard for the integrity of the investigation. Most Democrats on the Benghazi Committee have endorsed Clinton, and they are now running a protection effort for the former secretary.” Gowdy’s spokesman chastised the Democrats for their actions, “It is one thing to merely sit idly by while others do serious work, it is quite another to attempt to undercut that work with selective leaks in violation of House Rules.”
The committee was first set up in May 2014 to investigate the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, and now has lasted longer that the Watergate committee. Despite how much Republicans are defending the Benghazi committee having nothing to do with Clinton or her email scandal, her scandal has been uncovered through the investigation. The discovery has led to questions about why she used the server, how much classified information was sent through it and how she has preserved a record of her tenure as Secretary of State. The content of her emails uncovered the possible improper use of staff and conflict of interest with her husband former President Bill Clinton’s The Clinton Foundation. The committee has now interviewed eight of her aides that worked with her at the State Department, and they have been questioned about Clinton’s server. Clinton is set to testify on Oct. 22.