Boehner Reverses Course, Will Convene Select Committee to Investigate Benghazi (Update: It's Official)
Just 24 hours ago, House Speaker John Boehner was not considering calling for a select committee to investigate the attack in Benghazi, and the White House's handling of the attack and its messaging afterwards.
That has now changed. The Weekly Standard reports that Boehner will form a select committee. It will be led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
Gowdy serves on several House committees including the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The former federal prosecutor has distinguished himself with tough questioning in hearings on issues ranging from Benghazi to the IRS abuse scandal to Fast and Furious.
Select committees can operate many tasks, but they tend to be investigative bodies. Such was the case with the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, aka the Watergate Committee, which convened to investigate the Watergate break-in.
Update: In a statement released on his website, Speaker has made it official. He will convene a select committee on Benghazi. His full statement is below.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is announcing today that he intends for the House to vote to create a new select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans. He released the following statement:
“Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People's House. These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen. In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.
“The administration's withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built. And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?
“The House committees that have been investigating this attack have done extraordinary work, using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews. Without this work we would not know much that we do today. But it’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight. This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level. I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.
“Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability, and justice. It’s time that change.”
The Republican National Committee has also released statement from Chairman Reince Priebus.
“I applaud Speaker Boehner and House Republican leaders for their decision to vote to establish a new select committee on Benghazi,” said Chairman Priebus. “The American people want and deserve to know why the Obama White House and Democrats decided their political press strategy was more important than providing honest answers to the American people.
“After a federal court forced the White House to turn over emails about Benghazi, it became clear that the administration attempted to mislead the American people. When confronted with this evidence, they continue to offer denials, non-answers, and lies. At this point, they’re lying about their lies. Clearly, Democrats will go to any length to cover up what really happened. Americans are right to be fed up; they just want the truth. It’s a shame that it has taken so much time to get it, but Republicans have made a commitment to get the answers the public deserves.”