In the past couple of days, the State Department has delivered to the Select Committee on Benghazi, nearly 2,200 pages of printed emails from U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, one of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks. On Tuesday, the committee received about 1,300 new pages of printed e-mails to pour through and on Wednesday, 900 additional emails were delivered.
Democrats, who have long accused Republicans of politicizing the investigation, are “ramping up an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to quash the damaging effects of the 17-month investigation before Clinton testifies on Thursday,” the Washington Post reported.
In other words, they are doing what Democrats do best – they are circling the wagons around a fellow Democrat.
This week, ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and his staff are embracing the offensive with coordinated messaging, rapid response and a bevy of memos, fact-checking documents and reports. If you see Democratic panel members on television, it’s not by accident.
For the first time on Monday morning, Cummings called explicitly for the committee to disband, a comment that kicked off the week’s busy news cycle.
“No witnesses we interviewed substantiated these wild Republican conspiracy theories about Secretary Clinton and Benghazi,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement, citing a brand-new report by Democratic staff. “It’s time to bring this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to an end.”
On Tuesday, Democrats on the Committee published a “fact check” disputing Chairman Gowdy’s claim that his committee was the first congressional committee to request the emails of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The Democrats “debunked” the claim with a classic strawman argument:
“In fact, Congress has had access to many of Ambassador Stevens’ emails for years. Although some additional emails from Ambassador Stevens have been produced, none of them include any evidence to change the core fact that was already known: Secretary Clinton was not involved in responding to requests for additional security in Benghazi.
It’s interesting that Rep. Cummings felt comfortable making a claim about the contents of the emails on the same day 1,300 new ones were delivered, and a day before 900 more were.
At any rate, Chairman Gowdy claimed that his was the first committee to request all of the emails – not “have access” to “many” of them.
The Washington Examiner contacted the State Department for clarification and confirmed that Gowdy was right.
While seven other committees have investigated aspects of the Benghazi attack, a State Department official told the Washington Examiner Tuesday the agency is “not aware” of any previous requests for Stevens’ emails.
Republicans on the committee are now accusing Democrats of “directly coordinating with the Clinton presidential campaign and outside groups in an effort to protect Clinton.”
“It’s abundantly clear that several members of the Committee are focused solely on her poll numbers instead of getting the truth – and they’re all Democrats,” [Gowdy spokesman Matt] Wolking emailed.
When asked by the Washington Post about this, a Democrat aide refused to answer.
A Democratic aide said both Democrats and Republicans have been in touch with counsel for Clinton. The aide did not comment on allegations of strategic coordination with the campaign. …
Rather than help Republicans get to the bottom of what happened before, during and after the attack in Benghazi – which is the whole purpose of the Select Committee – Democrats plan to “walk through evidence that is favorable to Clinton,” at the hearing Thursday. They are also expected to go on the offense against Republican investigators.
Democrats say the idea of “correcting the record” sums up their strategy which is an amazing coincidence because “Correct the Record” happens to be the name of a PAC that coordinates with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
According to Politico, “Correct the Record” has “a war room of about 30 staffers on hand to defend Clinton and attack the committee as she heads to Capitol Hill Thursday to testify in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.”
CNN reported that the super PAC released “a 140-page book of opposition research Wednesday, obtained exclusively by CNN, that impugns the character of Republicans on the committee.”
Talk about your “partisan witch hunts.”
“Correct the Record” could be compared to the Obama campaign’s patently dishonest “Fight the Smears” website from 2008. But “Correct the Record” has a secret weapon “Fight the Smears” did not have.
Clinton attack dog Sid (Vicious) Blumenthal – who was banned from working in the Obama administration -and who happens to be a major figure in the email scandal – works for the “Correct the Record” PAC.