Benghazi elicits tense rhetoric on the Sunday shows

Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) traded barbs about the new House select committee investigating the September 2012 Benghazi attacks on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) will lead the House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Here are some of Gowdy's most memorable comments on the aftermath of the attack. (Jackie Kucinich/The Washington Post)

 

"They are clearly doing this to drive their turnout," Wasserman Schultz told host Candy Crowley. To which Bachmann responded, "That is not true at all."

"Excuse me, Michele," Wasserman Schultz added. "I didn't interrupt you, so I'd appreciate it if you not interrupt me."

Bachmann later defended the committee. "What this committee is doing is taking a very careful look at a very deliberate pace to go through depositions of people on the ground to find out the truth of what's happened," she said. "We need to get answers. This cannot be politicized."

The conversation continued to get more heated, and Crowley joked that next time she would have them both come to the studio so she could better control the panel.

Wasserman Schultz discussed Benghazi on CNN this Friday, as well. She told "New Day" host Chris Cuomo, "This is 100 percent pure politics. They don't have the ACA [Affordable Care Act] that's ginning up their base anymore. They tried to latch on to Cliven Bundy, and that blew up in their face. And now they have to go back to Benghazi, which has been, even by their own leader's admission, even by Speaker Boehner and Buck McKeon, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee's admission, they've exhausted multiple witness, multiple times, 25,000 pages of documents."

On "Fox News Sunday," the select committee's chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) also discussed the politics of Benghazi. The National Republican Congressional Committee sent out fundraising appeals off of the new Benghazi investigations last week. Gowdy said he thought the appeals were a bad idea, but he told Fox host Chris Wallace today, “It would be helpful if our colleagues on the other side of the aisle did not have selective amnesia when it comes to what’s appropriate to raise money off of and what’s not."

He continued, “They raised money on Sandy Hook, they raised money on Katrina, they raised money on Iraq and Afghanistan."

Gowdy also told Wallace that he mischaracterized the select committee's work when he called it a trial last week.

"For 16 years I spoke in trial metaphors, and perhaps I need to get out of that habit. What I simply meant is, when you ask me how long something is going to last, I need to know how cooperative the other side is going to be. So to the extent that I gave any indication to anyone that I view someone as the defense, what I meant by that is, if you can tell me how cooperative the other side is going to be, I can give you a better idea of how long something is going to last."

He also said that he wants Democrats to not only cooperate, but also feel that they are part of a factual and bias-free process.

“I want a process, Chris, that at the end of it, you are welcome to draw different conclusions from the facts. But I want everyone to say it was fair, it was exhaustive and we know more than we did when it started.

He added, “I have said from Day One, I want this to transcend politics, and I want it to inspire trust.”

Republicans announced Friday the seven representatives from their party who will serve on the committee. There are five slots for Democrats. Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) strongly pushed for equal representation on the committee last week.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also discussed Benghazi on the Sunday shows, saying that former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should be judged for the attacks if she decides to campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

“I’m sure she’s going to go out bragging about her time in the State Department," Rubio said. "She’s also going to have to be held accountable for its failures, whether it’s the failed reset with Russia or the failure in Benghazi that actually cost lives."

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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Jaime Fuller · May 11