It’s time for Trey Gowdy to go to prison for his illegal assault on Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
All doubt has been removed that Republicans were leading an organized assault on Hillary Clinton’s chances to win the presidency during the 2016 campaign.
The Benhazi investigation, spearheaded by Republican witch-hunter Trey Gowdy, was eventually revealed to be a complete joke.
As Media Matters for America reported, back on September 29, 2015 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “told Sean Hannity that one of the biggest accomplishments of the Republican House majority was creating the Benghazi Committee, which he credited with hurting Clinton’s poll numbers. Hannity initially praised McCarthy and the committee for its ‘political’ strategy, but has since walked back the complements amid backlash. Fox News largely ignored McCarthy’s damning comments, falling in line with the network’s years-long campaign to create and promote now-pervasive lies, smears, and conspiracy theories about Benghazi.”
This revelation was quickly followed up by an Op-Ed by The New York Times Editorial Board calling on Republicans to either “Shut Down the Benghazi Committee” or to rename their costly crusade “the Inquisition of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” noting that the crusade to paint Hillary Clinton as “personally responsible for the deaths” of four Americans in Benghazi “has lost any semblance of credibility.”
A few days later, The Washington Post reported on newly discovered links between Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.” This is the same group that aired a highly offensive new attack ad using images of Ambassador Stevens’ grave—without his family’s permission—and exploiting the deaths of four Americans to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president. Democrats have complained repeatedly about Gowdy’s connections to the group.
Then in October, Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, filed a lawsuit against Gowdy seeking damages for defamation. Salon elaborated on the lawsuit at the time, reporting that, “Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, claimed that he’d been improperly and illegally fired from the committee. He also revealed some damning details about the committee’s work, claiming that it had become singularly focused on Hillary Clinton and the State Department, to the exclusion of other agencies involved in the Benghazi response.”
Trey Gowdy The Criminal
As Liberals Unite reported in October: in a bombshell revelation, the Central Intelligence Agency reached out to Democrats serving on the Select Committee on Benghazi on Saturday to confirm that Chairman Trey Gowdy had altered documents provided to the committee by Hillary Clinton.
On October 7, 2015, Gowdy sent a response to ranking Benghazi member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), referring extensively to Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time confidante and adviser to the Clintons, who served as assistant and senior adviser to Bill Clinton from August 1997 until January 2001.
In addition to Sidney Blumenthal’s business interests, Secretary Clinton also apparently received classified information from Blumenthal – information she should have known was classified at the time she received it. In one email, Blumenthal writes “Tyler spoke to a colleague currently at CIA, who told him the agency had been dependent for intelligence from [redacted due to sources and methods].”1 This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives. Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague–debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address.1 There may be other instances as well where Secretary Clinton passed on classified information she received from Sidney Blumenthal. [emphasis added]
- However, as Newsweek reported, the CIA informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi that Gowdy’s claims were false: “Indeed, according to committee correspondence reviewed by Newsweek, the CIA did tell the panel on Saturday that it had reviewed 127 emails between Clinton and her close friend and outside adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, and none of it was deemed classified. Additionally, according to Newsweek: “’The CIA reviewed the material in question and informed State that it required no redactions,’ the agency informed Susan Sachsman Grooms, staff director and general counsel for the panel’s Democrats, on October 17.”
- Cummings sent a letter to Gowdy in October in which he dropped the bomb – accusing Gowdy of altering documents in an effort to frame Clinton: “To further inflate your claim, you placed your own redactions over the name of the individual with the words, ‘redacted due to sources and methods.’ To be clear, these redactions were not made, and these words were not added, by any agency of the federal government responsible for enforcing classification guidelines.”
- Cummings continued, emphasizing the fact that the CIA had thoroughly debunked Gowdy’s false claims against Clinton: “Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified. Specifically, the CIA confirmed that ‘the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.’”
Trey Gowdy Benghazi Witch-Hunter
- “Since March, the committee has issued almost 30 press releases related to Clinton; only five have been put out on every other topic combined.”
- Writing of the committee’s interim report published in May, he explains that: “The word Obama—who cannot run for commander-in-chief again—is not mentioned. Neither is the word president. Or Ansar al-Sharia, the group suspected of engineering the attack. White House makes only 13 appearances. Imagine an investigation on 9/11 that did not mention Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or President Bush; that is what has been done with the Benghazi committee’s first public report.”
- Eichenwald continued: “It gets worse. The name Ahmed Abu Khatalla, the man arrested as the mastermind of the attack, shows up once. The word terrorist appears only 10 times. As for references to Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination? Those show up 36 times in just 13 pages, an astonishing number given that the word Benghazi appears only 38 times. But the winner for the most mentions is the 39 references to emails from Clinton and the State Department. Clinton and her emails are referenced 49 percent more than the location where the attack took place and 197 percent more than the word terrorist.”
- Then there’s the matter of the June interrogation of longtime Hillary Clinton associate and confidante Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal was questioned for more than eight hours by the Benghazi Committee before being asked one single question regarding Benghazi and in spite of the fact “Democrats on the committee established quickly that morning, Blumenthal had never been to Libya and knew nothing about the assault.”
Trey Gowdy’s Taxpayer-Funded Political Campaign Against Clinton
- The Committee was given an unlimited, taxpayer-funded budget, and it has now spent more than $4.6 million in one of the longest and least productive investigations in congressional history—focused on Clinton.
- The Committee is being used by Republican fundraisers to attack Clinton.
- The Committee’s attacks were described by the conservative PAC America Rising as a taxpayer-funded political activity: “This has all occurred without a single cent of paid advertising taking place.”
- Gowdy’s name, image, and position have been used to solicit political donations by Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.
- Gowdy appeared at a GOP political event in June where local Rep. Chuck Fleischmann explained: “Whether you are Hillary Clinton or any other lefty out there, you better beware because Trey Gowdy is out there and he is going to get you.”
- Gowdy reportedly does not plan to release his findings until “just months before the 2016 presidential election.”
- Gowdy’s approach has been criticized even by conservative commentators: “Whatever the findings are in this investigation—it will forever be plagued by allegations of unfairness, and politics if this investigation is dragged into 2016. That would not be fair to the American people.”
Trey Gowdy The Hypocrite
The Select Committee on Benghazi began its investigation with a promise to be fair. According to committee chair, Trey Gowdy, “There are certain things in our culture that have to transcend politics, and I don’t mean to sound naive, but the murder of four fellow Americans and an attack on a facility that is emblematic of our country should transcend politics.” Yet despite repeated claims by Gowdy that he is objective, his prior record on the subject of Benghazi precedes his appointment as chair.
- Gowdy accused the Obama administration of giving “demonstratively false statements” during an October 10, 2012 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
- In November 2012, Gowdy issued a press release stating “the [Obama] administration intentionally misled the American people” about the circumstances surrounding Benghazi.
- In September 2013, Gowdy issued another press release regarding the anniversary of the Benghazi attack, stating: “the family and friends of four murdered Americans are still without a modicum of justice. It matters when a fundamental belief we hold about our country and our military—that you will not be left behind—has been called into question. It matters because if you can’t trust the information your government is giving you, how can you trust your government on any issue? You cannot compartmentalize credibility.”
After spearheading the Republican-led witch hunt the past 19 months, in an exclusive interview with Politico in October, Gowdy whined about attacks on him and the Benghazi committee as Hillary Clinton’s appearance neared – imagining somehow that his plight of recent weeks compares to that of Hillary Clinton who has been dragged over searing hot coals for three years.
- “I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life,” Gowdy said during the interview, adding: “Attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are 1,000-times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically — at least it is for me.”
- “The people who know me appreciate the fact that it is an impossible job … to run a serious fact-centric investigation in a political environment,” he continued. “So the best you can do is keep trying.”
- Complaining about allegations that he is targeting Clinton, Gowdy told Politico “When I hear that ‘it’s about her,’ it is so hard for me.” Addressing Clinton directly he stated: “You are not worth 18 months of my life, with all due respect. Four dead people are, but you’re not.”
- Whimpering about criticism from Democrats, Gowdy states: “I think that’s just the [Democrats’] MO: If you can’t attack the facts, you can attack the investigators … just attack, attack, attack and something will take hold,” he said. “[A]t some point, maybe something will stick, or maybe you get them off track or you get them to do or say something stupid, then you can seize on that.”
- Gowdy also claimed he is being being picked on by the media, telling Politico: “You can work your entire career to have a reputation, and then someone you have no recollection of ever meeting sits down with a reporter and you’re immediately in a position of having to defend and it’s impossible to prove a negative.”
The historical significance of this moment can hardly be overstated, and it seems many Republicans, Democrats and members of the media don’t fully understand the magnitude of what is taking place. The awesome power of government—one that allows officials to pore through almost anything they demand and compel anyone to talk or suffer the shame of taking the Fifth Amendment — has been unleashed for purely political purposes. It is impossible to review what the Benghazi committee has done as anything other than taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party’s leading candidate for president. Comparisons from America’s past are rare. Richard Nixon’s attempts to use the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies come to mind. So does Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting during the 1950s, with reckless accusations of treason leveled at members of the State Department, military generals and even the secretary of the Army.