Scandals in Washington

Benghazi

As part of the House’s continuing efforts to determine what took place before, during, and after the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently held a hearing featuring three whistleblowers, including Gregory Hicks, the second-highest diplomat in Libya at the time of the attack.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations, traveled to Libya as part of the congressional investigation into what took place. He said that no Democrat chose to go with him, but that the State Department sent a “minder” to keep tabs on him. Mr. Hicks testified that he was “instructed” by State Department attorneys not to cooperate with Rep. Chaffetz, and to keep Rep. Chaffetz from personally interviewing people on the ground in Libya.

Rep. Chaffetz ultimately was able to interview people, but his “minder” from the State Department – who lacked the proper security clearance to participate in the classified briefing – was excluded. Because of that, Mr. Hicks testified that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, called him, and in a tone that was unhappy, demanded a report on Rep. Chaffetz’s visit.

That the State Department appears to have been working to obstruct a Member of Congress from discovering the truth is appalling.

Another of the witnesses was Eric Nordstrom, the former regional security officer in Libya. Mr. Nordstrom said that he wanted to get the truth out. “What happened prior to, during, and after the attack matters,” he said in his opening remarks. “It matters to me personally and to my colleagues at State. It matters to the American people and it matters to the friends and families” of those killed in the attack.

He’s right – the truth matters.

Unfortunately getting to the truth has been difficult. The Obama administration originally began blaming a video for inciting the attack. “The YouTube video was a non event in Libya,” Mr. Hicks testified. He later said “The video was not an instigator of anything that was going on in Libya. We saw no demonstrations related to the video anywhere in Libya. The only event that transpired was the attack on our consulate on the night of Sept. 11.”

ABC News obtained documents making clear that State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland requested that references to al-Qaeda and prior warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi be removed from a memo on the attacks. Ms. Nuland emailed that the description “could be abused by members (of Congress) to beat up on the State Department for not paying attention to warnings.” That memo, stripped of some very important information, is what the Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, used in her Sunday Show appearances in which she only blamed the YouTube video.

Mr. Hicks testified that Ambassador Rice didn’t consult officials in Libya to verify the information in the memo before those appearances, and I haven’t seen anything indicating that she actually knew the full story. If I were Ambassador Rice, I would be asking questions to find out if I had been set up by others in the Administration.

Everyone makes mistakes. But as I tell my children, if you make a mistake, don’t lie about it. It only makes it worse. Very serious mistakes were made, which led to the murder of four Americans. But even worse, there was a cover-up about it as well – a concerted effort to conceal the truth. Some have argued these untruths were intended to protect the President during an election, and then-Secretary Clinton for future elections.

Motivation doesn’t matter. We cannot tolerate being knowingly and willfully misled by the Administration. I don’t care if it is a Republican, Democrat, or Independent President. The truth doesn’t have a political party. The American people deserve to know the truth. We must continue seeking that truth, and determine who authorized or acquiesced in the cover-up.

The IRS

Another developing scandal has to do with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitting to having deliberately targeted nonprofit conservative groups such as “Tea Party” and “Patriot” groups for increased scrutiny. The pro-Israel group known as Z Street reported that they also received similar negative treatment.

I am very disturbed by the purposeful targeting of any group by the IRS, whether it is conservative or liberal. I support the Committee on Ways and Means’ decision to hold a hearing on this matter. I will monitor the situation closely as it continues to unfold, and work to ensure that the IRS is held accountable for this shocking violation of the trust of the American people.

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LIGHTER SIDE

 

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

ALERT ALERT

Horrible: Democrats Set The Constitution On Fire With Fraudulent Impeachment

House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning after an investigation that violated fundamental provisions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The investigation of the president began with the complaint of a so-called “whistleblower” who turned out to be a rogue Central Intelligence Agency employee, protected by a lawyer who had called for a “coup” against Trump in early 2017.

Democrats first demanded that the “whistleblower” be allowed to testify. But after House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was found to have lied about his committee’s contact with the “whistleblower,” and after details of the “whistleblower’s” bias began to leak, Democrats reversed course. In violation of the President Trump’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser, Democrats refused to allow the “whistleblower” to testify. They argue the president’s procedural rights, even if they existed, would not apply until he was tried in the Senate — but they also invented a fraudulent “right to anonymity” that, they hope, might conceal the whistleblower even then.

Schiff began the “impeachment inquiry” in secret, behind the closed doors of the Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, even though none of the testimony was deemed classified. Few members of Congress were allowed access. Schiff allowed selective bits of testimony to leak to friendly media, while withholding transcripts of testimony.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), having allowed the secret process to unfold, legitimized it with a party-line vote authorizing the inquiry. The House resolution denied President Trump the procedural rights enjoyed by Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and denied the minority party the traditional right to object to witnesses called by the majority.

Rather than the House Judiciary Committee, which traditionally handles impeachment, Pelosi also deputized the House Intelligence Committee to conduct fact-finding; the Judiciary Committee was turned into a rubber stamp. Schiff held a few public hearings, but often failed to release transcripts containing exculpatory evidence until after they had passed.

In the course of the Intelligence Committee’s investigation, Schiff quietly spied on the telephone records of his Republican counterpart, Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA). He also snooped on the phone records of a journalist, John Solomon; and on the phone records of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, acting as President Trump’s personal lawyer.

Schiff’s eavesdropping violated both the First Amendment right to press freedom and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Yet he proceeded undeterred by constitutional rights, publishing the phone logs in his committee’s report without warning, confirmation, or explanation, alleging that Nunes and the others were part of a conspiracy to assist the president’s allegedly impeachable conduct. When Republicans on the Judiciary Committee asked the Intelligence Committee’s majority counsel, Daniel Goldman, to explain the phone logs, he refused to answer,

Ironically, Schiff had done exactly what Democrats accuse Trump of doing: abused his power to dig up dirt on political opponents, then obstructed a congressional investigation into his party’s and his committee’s misconduct.

Democrats’ articles of impeachment include one for the dubious charge of “abuse of power,” which is not mentioned in the Constitution; and one for “obstruction of Congress,” which in this case is an abuse of power in itself.

Alexander Hamilton, writing about impeachment in Federalist 65, warned that “there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” Democrats have fulfilled Hamilton’s worst fears.

The Trump impeachment will soon replace the 1868 impeachment of President Andrew Johnson — which the House Judiciary Committee staff actually cited as a positive precedent — as the worst in American history.

In service of their “coup,” Democrats have trampled the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Republic has never been in greater danger.

You don't get to interrupt me

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