Rep. Gowdy: 'Let Us Have a Hearing Before You Judge It'

Monday, 05 May 2014 08:50 PM

By Greg Richter

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Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican tapped to head the House select committee on Benghazi, says Democratic critics shouldn't prejudge the hearings as partisan.

"Washington is its own ecosystem. They wouldn't like it if I cured malaria tonight, because I'm a Republican," Gowdy said Monday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

He advised Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California and others to "at least let us have a hearing before you judge it." Schiff said Sunday that Democrats should boycott the hearings to avoid giving it credibility. Some have agreed with him, while others feel Democrats should be there to provide an opposing voice.

Schiff and Gowdy are both former Justice Department prosecutors, and Gowdy noted that Schiff was hired by the Republican George W. Bush administration, while Gowdy was was hired by the Democratic Bill Clinton administration.

"That's what I love about the justice system. She wears a blindfold for a reason," Gowdy said."

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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Several House committees have held separate hearings on the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. Republicans have called for a select committee for months. House Speaker John Boehner finally agreed after an email became public last week tying a White House operative to talking points urging that blame for the attacks be placed on an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

The email, written by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, advised then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to talk about the video, rather than terrorism, when appearing on the five Sunday news programs to discuss the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Republican critics say the White House feared that a terror attack so close to President Barack Obama's re-election bid would hurt his chances with voters since he was campaigning on having terrorists "on the run."

Gowdy told Van Susteren he wants all documents that have been seen by all the committees as well as any that have not yet been released.

"I'm not interested in redacted documents," he added. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah told Fox News that documents received by Congress had larger portions blacked out than the same documents released to the group Judicial Watch when it made a Freedom of Information Act request.

"I want to see every single solitary relevant material document," Gowdy said. In fact, he said he wants all possible relevant documents, including presidential daily briefing reports, so the committee can decide which are relevant.

Columnist George Will told Fox News Gowdy can't be accused of being a "careerist" since he doesn't even really want his job.

"He wants to go back to Spartanburg and play golf and raise his two children," Will said on Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier." "He's always said, 'I'm a prosecutor, not a politician,' which is why he's well-cast in this role."

And the goal of the committee isn't to energize the Republican base, Will added. It already is energized by Obamacare and other issues, he said.

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he wants to see not only a bipartisan committee, but one composed of members of both the House and Senate.

"The truth shouldn't be partisan," Cruz said Monday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto." 

Cruz said he is willing to accept the findings of the committee, even if it shows there was no intent by the administration to lie.

"Never attribute to malice what can be explained with incompetence," he said.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told Van Susteren that he was quick to call for a 9/11 Commission along with Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman even though Bush opposed it.

"When Abu Ghraib happened, I condemned it. Waterboarding, I was against it.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., told Fox's Neil Cavuto that he won't serve on the committee if asked because its only purpose is to hurt the presidential chances of Hillary Clinton. He said he doesn't expect what he called Republican partisanship to stop anytime soon.

"It's going to continue until Hillary Clinton is elected president," he said.

But Cruz said the politics are on the other side of the aisle.

"These emails are nakedly political," he told Cavuto. "It is abundantly clear that the driving motivation is protecting the political interests of the president rather than telling the truth about what happened or getting to the bottom of it."

In the 19 months since the attack, Cruz said, "we don't have a single dead terrorist. We don't have a single terrorist apprehended."

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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