Benghazi Scandal: Can Republicans Subpoena Their Way Out Of All the Time They've Wasted?
In the latest development of the Republican-led investigation to the Benghazi attack, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has filed a subpoena for even more Benghazi documents. These again relate the “talking points” cover-up argument that many Republicans have been pushing as their smoking gun that will link a scandal directly to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
The altered talking point argument has been harped on by many in the Republican Party as the primary misdeed of the Obama administration but the general public has been not as convinced. The latest subpoena serves as a next attempt to find a "smoking gun" regarding the Obama administration and Benghazi.
The latest subpoena is directed toward 10 current and former State Department officials, who have until June 7to comply. Jeremy Peters at the New York Times points out that several of the people called out in Chairman Issa’s letter are former top aide to Hillary Clinton. Among those called upon to provide information are Cheryl Mills, Mrs. Clinton’s former chief of staff, Victoria Nuland, and Patrick Kennedy.
Victoria Nuland was at the center of a previous controversy in which a faulty ABC News report claimed that she was at the center of an e-mail chain that indicated a cover-up. CNN disproved that claim and other information surfaced that Republicans on Capitol Hill had been informed of how the talking points progressed well before the Benghazi hearings started.
The White House also released over 100 pages of e-mails relating to this charge and Republicans were unable to find a smoking gun among the ream of documents. In fact those e-mails suggested that it was the CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell who decided to remove references to Al-Qaeda-linked militants, not the State Department. This was devastating to the Republicans' arguments about a cover-up at the State Department, so Issa said those documents were insufficient and has focused on the State Department rather then the CIA angle.
Its unknown what these documents will tell us that the last 30 hearings and 25,000 pages of documents did not. Many are claiming that this is merely an attempt to find any sort of way to drag Mrs. Clinton back into the hearings and provide a road bump in the case of her potential 2016 run for president. Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a member of Chairman’s Issa’s committee, said in a statement, "House Republicans appear to be obsessed with Hillary Clinton and are distracting Congress from conducting responsible oversight to protect our diplomatic personnel serving overseas. This investigation has been politicized from the beginning as House Republicans accuse first and then scramble to find evidence to back up their unsubstantiated claims."
It is unknown what exactly will satisfy Chairman Issa and the Congressional Republicans short of a handwritten note that says “I Did It” signed by both President Obama and Mrs. Clinton. One thing is for sure, however. If Chairman Issa gets his documents and does not like what he finds, he will go back to the Obama administration and request another round of documents that "are crucial to the Committee’s investigation." Much like these and the last rounds were.