It’s Republican Temper Tantrum Tactics Déjà Vu all over again. Only this time, it’s Senator Lindsey Graham – fighting a Tea Party challenge to his re-election next year – instead of Senator Ted Cruz and instead of a government shutdown to defund Obamacare, it’s an equally pointless blockage of presidential nominees to showboat over Benghazi. One of those nominees is the head of Homeland Security. So, apparently, while Graham is holding himself up as some big national security maven, he’s also willing to jeopardize it. Not surprisingly, on yesterday’s Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace grilled Graham on the political strategy but gave him a pass on the substance (or lack thereof).
From the Fox News Sunday transcript:
GRAHAM: A year later, only one survivor in Benghazi has been interviewed by the Congress, and that person was subpoenaed.
Why do I want to talk to them?
I want to know from their mouth, not anybody else, no spokesman, no British contractor, Americans on the ground in Benghazi—did you see a protest? Did you ever report a protest? Did you complain before the attack that al Qaeda was growing in strength in Libya? Did you make security request that anybody try to help you enhance security?
Actually, Congress interviewed one Benghazi survivor and one State Department security agent stationed in Tripoli who was on the phone with the Benghazi consulate while it was under attack. Wallace did not point out Graham’s distortion. Why wasn’t the testimony from those two enough? Wallace didn’t ask that, either.
Graham’s concern about whether or not there was a protest is another red herring. Think Progress points out:
Four days after the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, (Susan Rice) then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. said that “our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present,” — i.e. Rice wasn’t making a definitive statement — is that “there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.” It was later reported that intelligence officials had information the day Rice made her remarks contradicting her assessment but she “wasn’t warned of their new doubts.”
Graham and other Obama critics maintained that the White House inserted this line — that the attack was spawned by an anti-Islam video protest — in Rice’s talking points for political reasons, as if to downplay that the Benghazi attack was solely a terrorist incident. As Republicans claimed at the time, admitting it was a terror attack (which Obama did the day after) would then undermine the White House’s campaign narrative that President Obama had significantly weakened Al Qaeda. But information later emerged that it was actually the CIA, not the White House, that made the assessment that there may have been a protest to the video that sparked the attack.
But for this non-scandal, Graham is threatening to block all presidential nominees, including President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Reserve. Even Wallace suggested that was “over the top.”
And even Graham acknowledged his plan was probably ill-fated. From the transcript:
GRAHAM: The only way this will work is if my Republican colleagues get behind and say to my Democratic friends in the Senate and the administration, we support Lindsey’s request to be able to talk to the survivors, independent of the administration, to look at the evidence, to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, before, during and after.
…So, here’s the way this will work—I’m hoping that they will relent and allow us to interview the survivors, appropriate congressional committees—
…I will ask my Republican colleagues and Democratic colleagues to stand up to the Obama administration. Don’t let them get away with this.
During this segment, Wallace helped validate Graham’s stance by bringing up a 60 Minutes report on Benghazi the week before. Wallace noted the Obama administration’s (self-interested) pushback. But he didn’t go into the many problems of credibility with CBS’ report. So by making the “debate” over Graham’s tactics, rather than the integrity of his effort, Wallace suggested it was a given that the Obama administration has done something wrong, if not outright nefarious, and the only question is how to deal with it. Which, in turn, helped legitimize Graham’s ploy.
Obstructing government. It’s what Republicans do – and what Fox News enables them to do.
The one Benghazi source, Dylan Davies was caught in some lies about the events leading up to the deaths of those four men.
The Fox frauds will spin that story.
Let these whiny bastards scream “freedom of speech” and have them reminded that treason and sedition is NOT free speech (treason, in fact, is grounds for removal from Congress). Let these d-bags spend the next couple of years in front of judges facing treason charges just to put the “fear of God” (if you’ll pardon the expression) into them and remind them that they are there to serve the people and do a job—something they’re not currently doing, all because the President’s Black.