Trey Gowdy: Expect a Final Benghazi Report Before Summer

From Dana Milbank, opinion writer at the Washington Post:


Is Trey Gowdy planning a July surprise?

The chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi went to ground after he and his colleagues grilled Hillary Clinton in October. They haven’t had a single hearing since then (and had only three public hearings before that one), though they occasionally send news releases reminding the world that their 700-day-old investigation continues.

Trey GowdyBut that is about to change. Gowdy, after blowing through several previous deadlines he set, has said to expect a final report “before summer,” and Republicans say they are drafting it now. In another indication that the rollout is approaching, Gowdy last month stopped giving Democrats transcripts of witness interviews. This move, ostensibly to prevent leaks, diminishes the minority’s ability respond to allegations contained in the majority report.

Depending on how long the declassification review takes, the Benghazi report is on track to drop by mid-July, just before Congress recesses for the conventions and at a time when Republicans will be in need of a distraction from the Trump-Cruz standoff. If the review takes longer (they typically last from a few weeks to a several months), it could come out in September, in the campaign’s homestretch.

Either scenario would confirm what critics of the panel have said all along (and what Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy incautiously confirmed) — that the panel is a political exercise designed to damage Clinton. Fox News host Greta van Susteren, writing in the Huffington Post a year ago, argued that “dragging the investigation into 2016 looks political” and that releasing the report right before the election “looks awful” and “sends a bad message about fairness.”

If the report comes out in 2016, she wrote, “it is fair to draw an adverse inference against the Committee — an adverse inference of playing politics. . . . Whatever the findings are in this investigation — it will forever be plagued by allegations of unfairness, and politics if this investigation is dragged into 2016.”

Back then, Gowdy told van Susteren that “I want it done before 2016” and that “it’s not going to come out in the middle of 2016.” The panel had originally contemplated finishing work in October 2015. Gowdy later shifted that to the end of 2015, then this spring.

He will argue that Obama administration foot-dragging slowed the investigation; one batch of documents, delivered Friday, had been requested 17 months earlier. But it’s hard to pin the delay on the White House when the committee has continued in recent weeks to add new witnesses. The panel waited to request interviews with former CIA director David Petraeus and former defense secretary Leon Panetta until after Clinton testified. Those two, along with national security adviser Susan Rice and deputy Ben Rhodes, are among at least 35 interviewed since October. Though most of the committee’s work has been a retread of previous investigations, it claims it has received more than 72,000 pages of records not seen by other congressional committees — not exactly a picture of stonewalling.

Gowdy and his staff, apparently aware of the perception problem, have been releasing defensive statements to the public. When the report is released, “I’m confident the value and fairness of our investigation will then be abundantly clear to everyone,” Gowdy said on April 8. The majority on April 6 issued a statement taking issue with the “idea that the committee’s October hearing [with Clinton] was ‘a flop’ that produced ‘no new information.’ ” Gowdy previously promised the report findings would be “eye-opening.”

One eye-opening thing has already happened: Gregory Hicks, the U.S. diplomat in Libya who criticized the administration response, is now on detail from the State Department working as a legislative assistant to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who previously said Hicks’s “shocking testimony” confirmed a “Benghazi whitewash” by the administration.

Another eye-opening thing: The panel never agreed on rules or a budget (some $6.5 million has been spent). And the probe, after a respectable start, quickly devolved into the mix of unfounded allegations, selective leaks and partisan sniping that characterized the preceding Benghazi investigation by Rep. Darrel Issa’s oversight panel.



Let’s give Ted Cruz and Donald Trump a break for a few minutes and talk about Trey Gowdy. 

He has drug this investigation out for two long years, supposedly waiting patiently for the State Department and others to turn over documents that would basically condemn themselves. He has given the witnesses more than ample time to corroborate their stories between their scheduled dates to appear before the committee, and he’s continued telling us for months that their findings will be eye-opening.

This report is supposed to shed light on which of our government officials are responsible for the loss of four Americans – it is about guilt or innocence, judgment errors and possible treason.

If the report is such an eye opener, then to quote an infamous phrase, what difference does it make when it comes out? If the report proves a certain presidential candidate guilty, don’t we want to know that before she’s possibly elected?

When Gowdy was given this assignment, many of us were happy to see him in charge because the general opinion of Gowdy was that he’s a bulldog who would go after the truth no matter where it led or who it involved. Now it seems we may have overestimated his level of determination.


Categories: Political

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6 replies

  1. Gowdy has been a monumental disappointment, even if he produces a bold-face type confession of culpability from Hillary.

    He was given a sharp, two-edged sword, and has behaved like he was wielding a feather duster, all the while talking tough.

    Bullshit! Whether paid off, blackmailed, duplicitous, or incompetent, he has failed!


    • You’d think at some point after hearing from some of the military witnesses Gowdy would have enough evidence to call a halt to the investigation because he had enough to prove what happened and who’s responsible.

      However, if the line of questioning for them was as polite as it was during Hillary’s testimony, it’s no wonder they’ re taking so long.


  2. Though I’ll admit to extreme frustration and disappointment on this investigation, I’m not ready to unload on Gowdy quite yet. If he essentially gives Hillary a pass, then I’ll be ready for a posse, a tree and a rope for Gowdy, but we all have to recognize that one of any democrat administration’s defensive weapons is The Indefinite Delay.

    Obama’s minions have prohibited witnesses from testifying, they’ve been “unable” to find documents, and in any manner imaginable, disrupted and slowed the progress of this committee. Gowdy MAY be at fault, but he’s been up against Obama and Clinton and all of the evil activities they can bring to bear.


    • All good points, Garnet, as those are all key factors in the near endless delays. Part of the problem is that committees of this sort don’t have the authority to command the documents needed to complete the investigation, and I’d bet that’s by design.


  3. I thought from 4 months in on Gowdy’s lead on this investigation that he had been paid off somehow. He spoke all the right words when on the Kelly Files but there were several actions that didn’t sit right for me.

    He has turned coat, I believe. Don’t expect anything from this expensive long ‘investigation’. Which should have been a quick no brainer.


    • “He spoke all the right words..” You said it, tannngl. Gowdy has always been good at that and it’s the very reason we gave him credit for being that proverbial dog on a bone. It’s looking like we overestimated him, as his actions don’t match those eloquent words.

      Liked by 1 person

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