There has been plenty of handwringing and displeasure from the Left about the wisdom of Nancy Pelosi's decision to appoint Democrats to what I'm calling the GOP Email Inquisition, formally known as the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Critics argued that appointing Democrats would only give the committee legitimacy when it was clearly a witch-hunt against the Administration and Hillary Clinton.
Pelosi, for her part, said she was against forming the committee, and she put on record her call for the committee to be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans if it were to be formed. But that once it was formed even without meeting the demand of fair, equal division, she needed to appoint Democrats to introduce some fairness in the process. "We need someone in the room to defend the truth", she said, announcing her picks for the committee.
Pelosi was right, and it became clear yesterday when this happened:
The above is a video of Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, aided by Democratic member Adam Schiff laying it on the chair of the committee, Trey Gowdy, demanding that he release the transcript of the committee's deposition of Sidney Blumenthal, a colorful character who Republicans claimed was a key adviser of Clinton's with respect to Libya policy and someone who did not hold President Obama in a particularly high regard.
Blumenthal did not work for the State Department, was not Clinton's adviser on Libya or any other policy matter when she was secretary of state, but he did send her emails on her personal account. Democrats nailed Trey Gowdy, demanding the committee release Blumenthal's deposition transcripts. Gowdy tried to skate on ice by saying it was Democrats who were being selective by only wanting to release his deposition, and Schiff kept him nailed, pointing out that Republicans had chosen only to release his emails.
The committee did take a vote subsequently, forcing all Republican members to go on the record to try to keep secret the testimony of the man whose emails to Clinton they saw as the most damning evidence against her.
The aforementioned Adam Schiff posited throughout the hearing a simple question to the Republicans: what, he wondered, was their "core theory of the case". Republicans on the committee couldn't say it publicly - although other Republicans already have - that it was a political witch-hunt. So they couldn't answer Schiff's question.
But what Schiff didn't say was that Democrats, too, had a core theory of the case, and that they proved it definitively during Clinton's testimony. The Democrats' core theory was that the the committee is a political ploy to derail Hillary Clinton's political career and not a serious attempt to learn the truth about Benghazi.
So the Democrats went about making their case: from pointing out eight previous independent investigative reports, including a few lead by Republican Congressional committee chairs, to challenging Republican members question that were solely meant to attack Clinton and had nothing to do with Benghazi, making fun of the Republican members' weird fixation on email, and most damningly, during the course of the hearing, forcing Republicans to vote on the record to conceal evidence from the American people.
Consider it mission accomplished, especially when the Republican chair of the committee drew a blank after the hearing when asked what new information the Committee had learned about Benghazi from the testimony during the day - furthering proof that this entire charade is a political witch-hunt.
In the mean time, the hearing was not only unproductive, it badly backfired on the Republicans, capping the best 10-day stretch Hillary Clinton could have had with the presidential campaign in full swing.
Brilliantly, now that the main episode is done and the Republicans have faltered, Pelosi has threatened that Democrats may now pull out of the committee, just to put the finishing touches on after already having completely demolished the panel's credibility. Democrats yesterday in fact put it on record in the committee that the Republicans are intent on issuing a partisan report with no Democratic support anyway.
Well done, Madam Speaker.
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