Ayotte: Administration's Benghazi narrative doesn't pass the 'laugh test'

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteSununu setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP dealt 2022 blow, stares down Trump-era troubles Sununu exit underscores uncertain GOP path to gain Senate majority MORE (R-N.H.) on Sunday said the Obama administration's storyline surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi “doesn't pass the laugh test.”


Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Ayotte accused the administration of changing the Benghazi, Libya, narrative in the weeks leading up to the 2012 presidential election so that it wouldn't hurt President Obama's campaign.

“The White House was pushing a political explanation leading up to an election,” Ayotte said. “The president had been saying al Qaeda was on the run. They were trying to push a narrative of strength in foreign policy and that did not fit their narrative. This was actually an indication of a broader failure in foreign policy.”

The Obama administration began fending off another round of Benghazi criticisms last week after an email was released that shows top White House aide Ben Rhodes coached then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice into claiming the events in Benghazi erupted from protests to an Internet video gone wrong, rather than a coordinated terrorist attack.

Republicans accuse the Obama administration of having known better at the time, and say it pushed outright lies. But Democrats say the administration gave the best information it had at the time. Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel may see leverage from Bannon prosecution An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Stoltenberg says Jan. 6 siege was attack on 'core values of NATO' MORE (D-Calif.), also speaking on "Fox News Sunday," warned that Republicans shouldn't take the White House email out of context.

“In terms of this Rhodes memo, if you look at this four-page Rhodes memo, there's only two sentences that pertain to Benghazi, which track exactly what the CIA talking points were,” he said. “So it's very hard to use this memo as some kind of justification.”

After the email was released, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: The next Republican wave is coming Rift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE (R-Ohio) called for a select committee to investigate the events surrounding Benghazi. Ayotte on Sunday praised the move, saying “we have to get to the bottom of this.”

But Schiff called it a “colossal waste of time.” Schiff said Republicans need to move on.

“I think it's a colossal waste of time,” Schiff said. “We've had four bipartisan investigations of this already. And I think it's driven by a couple of things. The Republican conference is so fractured, there's really only two things they agree on: They don't like ObamaCare and they do like talking about Benghazi.”

Schiff also said Democrats should not participate in the select committee on Benghazi, so as to not give it “anymore credibility than it deserves.”

“That's what I recommend,” Schiff said. “I don't know what our leadership will ultimately decide. But I don't think it makes sense for us to give this select committee anymore credibility than it deserves. And, frankly, I don't think it deserves very much. We've tread down this path so many times.”