Gowdy defends Benghazi select committee
By BYRON TAU |
5/11/14 9:51 AM EDT
Rep. Trey Gowdy, the new chairman of the select committee assigned to investigate the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya — vowed Sunday the process would be fair, factual and nonpartisan.
“I have no friends to reward and no foes to punish,” the South Carolina Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re going to go wherever the facts take us. Facts are neither Republican nor Democratic, they are facts.”
“If we overplay our hand or we engage in a process that is not fair according to the American people, then we will be punished, as we should be,” Gowdy told Fox’s Chris Wallace.
Gowdy pushed back on the notion that he was treating the chairmanship like a judicial prosecution — walking back a comment earlier last week where he said: “I can’t end a trial simply because the defense won’t cooperate.”
“For 16 years, I spoke in trial metaphors and perhaps I need to get out of that habit,” the former prosecutor said Sunday.
“What I simply meant was: when you asked me how long something is going to last, I need to know how cooperative the other side is going to be,” he said, pointing to unsettled questions about how forthcoming the Obama administration would be in the process.
Republicans will hold seven seats on the new committee, while Democrats will be assigned five. Democratic leaders are still considering whether to participate or boycott the hearings.
Gowdy said that Democrats would have a role on the committee, vowing that they would be able to participate.
“I don’t run my committees the way that the Democrats are fearful of,” Gowdy said, pointing to two subcommittees that he currently runs.
“I want a process, Chris, that at the end of it, you are welcome to draw different conclusions from the facts,” Gowdy said. “But I want everyone to say it was fair, it was exhaustive and we know more than we did when it started”
“I have said from day one I want this to transcend politics," he said, "and I want it to inspire trust.”