Schiff Calls on Democrats to Boycott Benghazi Panel
Sunday, May 4, 2014 11:55 AM
By: Sandy Fitzgerald
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff called House Speaker John Boehner's plans to create a special bipartisan committee to investigate the attacks on the Benghazi consulate a "colossal waste of time."
He said fellow Democrats should not give the committee credibility by joining it or voting for it.
"I don't think it makes sense, really, for Democrats to participate," Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace Sunday, calling the committee a "tremendous red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources."
Schiff said he doesn't know what the Democratic leadership in the House will decide to do, but he pointed out that there have been four bipartisan investigations already, and new calls for yet another probe are politically motivated.
"I don't think it makes sense for us to give this select committee any more credibility than it deserves, and frankly I don't think it deserves very much," Schiff told Wallace. "I hope the speaker reconsiders, but it looks as though he has bowed to those on the farthest right of his conference."
On Friday, Boehner said he plans to schedule a vote to create a select committee after emails released last week showed the Obama administration withheld documents from prior congressional investigations and that it misled the American public after the deadly attacks, which killed four people, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
"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," Boehner said Friday. "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.
The email in question, released this past week, informed then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to "underscore" that the attacks were spurred by an internet video when she spoke of them in interviews.
A committee investigation, with or without Democratic participation, could level damaging charges against the Obama administration at a time when the midterm elections are heating up. They could cast doubt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she chooses to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
But the White House — and Schiff — steadfastly maintains that the email to Rice didn't concern the Benghazi attack, but instead referenced other protests in the Middle East, a claim that New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said Sunday "doesn't pass the laugh test."
Ayotte said there still has not been a clear explanation about why Rice connected the Sept. 11, 2012 attack to a video, but maintained that that explanation came from the White House because of the timing of the attacks.
"[It was] a political explanation leading up to an election," Ayotte said, noting that the 2012 presidential election was just weeks away at that point, and claiming the White House feared the attack would be deemed a foreign policy failure if it turned out terrorists were at fault.
"This did not fit their narrative," said Ayotte.