Bill Press: Benghazi hearing is a sham

Bill Press: Benghazi hearing is a sham
© Greg Nash

It’s not rocket science that’s missing in Washington today — it’s just plain common sense. And common sense would tell House Republicans to pull the plug on Thursday’s hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

After the display of disarray among House Republicans over the last few weeks, nobody would accuse them of being super smart. But who would have thought they were dumb enough to go forward with this hearing, where former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE will be questioned about the 2012 attack in Libya, after its entire purported purpose has been so badly undermined?

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Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) should realize they’ve already lost this battle and Hillary Clinton has won it. When it’s over, no matter how hard Republicans pile on, they’ll only look worse — and Clinton will only look better.

Let’s start with the fact that there was no need for any Select Committee on Benghazi in the first place. That ground had already been plowed over and over again by the House Oversight Committee under the purview of then-Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), as well as other committees. 

According to Politico, even before Boehner created the Select Committee, Benghazi had already been the subject of 13 congressional hearings, 25,000 pages of documents and 50 briefings — none of which uncovered any wrongdoing on Clinton’s part. In fact, a bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, “There were no efforts by the White House or any other executive branch entities to ‘cover-up’ facts or make alterations for political purposes.”

So why convene a Select Committee? Because the committee’s primary purpose was to discredit and derail Clinton’s candidacy for president in 2016. 

That’s why, when Issa failed to destroy Clinton, largely because he was preoccupied with his own self-promotion, Boehner took the job away from him and handed it to Gowdy. And that’s why, when Gowdy’s Benghazi digging also came up empty-handed, the Speaker suddenly ordered the committee to focus on the former secretary’s emails — even though that issue had also already been the subject of countless congressional hearings, with zero results.

The Select Committee on Benghazi has been part of a partisan political witch-hunt from Day 1. And, unfortunately for House Republicans, that was confirmed by none other than Mr. Malaprop himself, GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), when he famously told Fox News: “Everybody thought that 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.” His candid take on the committee’s real purpose was later echoed by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), who told WIBX in Utica: “This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual: Hillary Clinton.”

So, the cat’s out of the bag. Republicans are using a House committee and taxpayer dollars — $4.5 million so far — to play politics against Hillary Clinton. 

If Trey Gowdy had any self-respect, he’d resign as chairman, rather than continue to lead such a travesty of governance. 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “The Obama Hate Machine.”