May 22, 2014
Clinton team begged Dems to to protect Hillary at Benghazi hearings
Do you remember Democrats saying that Benghazi was a non-issue, a political circus that Republicans were pushing because they're extreme and crazy?
Hillary Clinton, it would appear, begs to differ.
Hillary Clinton’s world was so worried about a Republican investigation of the Benghazi attacks, they sent a message to House Democrats: We need backup.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly considered boycotting the panel, an idea that Clinton supporters feared would leave the potential 2016 candidate exposed to the enemy fire of House Republicans.
So Clinton emissaries launched a back channel campaign, contacting several House Democratic lawmakers and aides to say they’d prefer Democrats participate, according to sources familiar with the conversations. Pelosi’s staff said they have not heard from Clinton’s camp.
On Wednesday, Pelosi appointed five Democrats to the committee, giving Democrats another crucial mission in the months ahead of what was already a tough election year: act as Clinton’s first line of defense.
“Republicans are making it clear they plan to use the power of the Benghazi Select Committee to continue to politicize the tragedy that occurred in Benghazi, which is exactly why Democratic participation in the committee is vital,” a Democrat close to Clinton world said. “Inevitably, witnesses ranging from Secretary Clinton to Secretary [John] Kerry will be subpoenaed to testify, and the Democrats appointed to the committee will help restore a level of sanity to the hearings, which would otherwise exist solely as a political witch hunt.”
As Republicans continue their high-profile probe into the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Clinton is center stage. Over the next few months, Republicans on the committee will work to build a case against her, and they will attempt to haul her to Capitol Hill to testify.
Clinton and her allies know from experience the kind of damage an emboldened Republican House committee can inflict.
If Clinton testifies, it will almost certainly be one of the blockbuster moments for the committee and an important prelude as she considers a second run for the White House.
Some Democrats are already worried that they have been too slow to prepare for the expected partisan battles on Benghazi. Republicans have been teeing up for months.
Hillary is worried because she knows she's vulnerable to harsh criticism for her non-action in securing the diplomatic compound in Benghazi prior to the attack. She had her own Commission - the Pickering whitewash, that placed the entire blame for the tragedy on a couple of low level State Department flunkies who weren't even fired - absolve her of any incompetence and wrongdoing.
Now congress is going to look at things for real and her team is rightly scared. And unlike the Pickering Commission, Hillary is likely to testify.
I'm note sure Democrats have enough tricks to protect her when those damning emails from Ambassador Stevens begging for additional security are examined by the committee.