Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) on Sunday called the establishment of a select committee to investigate Benghazi a “colossal waste of time” and encouraged his party’s leadership to not appoint Democrats on the panel.
“I think it’s a colossal waste of time. We’ve had four bipartisan investigations of this already … I don’t think it makes sense, really, for Democrats to participate. I think it’s just a tremendous red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources,” Schiff said.
Schiff’s comments came during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
When asked by Fox’s Chris Wallace if he meant “that Democrats should not appoint anyone to the special committee, and let it simply be Republicans holding this investigation,” Schiff confirmed, “That’s what I would recommend."
The release of documents by the conservative organization Judicial Watch, most notably an email from National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, have heightened the debate over Benghazi, the administration's account of events, and the talking points provided to then UN Ambassador Susan Rice.
Speaker John Boehner on Friday announced that he intends to form a house select committee to investigate the “terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.” Republicans praised the move.
“The investigation to date, there's been important work done in the committees, but it’s been disjointed and the latest revelation from the White House really tells us that we need this select committee. Why is it that we're just receiving this email? It really shows where the idea from the video came because that video was not in the talking points and yet that is what Ambassador Rice pushed on your show and every Sunday show,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.).
The White House maintains that the email in question is not about Benghazi, but the broader unrest in the Middle East. Ayotte noted that argument doesn’t “pass the laugh test.”
“Here's the problem. The CIA testified before the House Intel Committee—Director Morell—that, in fact, they did not put a causal connection between the attack and the video … when that was said that's not in a talking point anyway. The video story clearly came from the White House,” said Ayotte.
“If it weren’t for an independent judiciary we would’ve never know about this email,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C) said on “Face the Nation.”
“That clearly demonstrates the White House tried to shift the story away from a coordinated terrorist attack of an unsecured facility to a video that caused a protest of a strongly secured facility that they couldn’t really be held responsible to.”
Democrats maintain the Rhodes’ email is immaterial.
“This is a committee … that has been looking for a scandal and conspiracy theories for the last four years. There's a lot more theory here than there is conspiracy,” former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe echoed that sentiment on the same program.
“This was happening in real time,” said Plouffe.
“As soon as information was identified it was released. That’s why over the course of those weeks we knew exactly what happened. There was no politicization about this at all … what is happening here, and it’s stoked by the talk radio personalities and Fox News, is this alternate reality.”