* Things just get better and better for Republicans on the Select Committee on Benghazi:

Going against the wishes of Republicans, Democrats on Wednesday released the full transcript of nine hours of closed-door testimony from a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, a day before Clinton’s appearance in an open hearing on Capitol Hill.

The 307-page transcript from Cheryl Mills’s September testimony contains no evidence that Clinton mishandled the U.S.’s response to the 2012 terror attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, according to Democrats on the select committee investigating the incident.

Instead, Clinton was “very engaged” in responding to the crisis, Mills said, according to the new transcript.

In fact, her decision to go to a “staff-level” meeting about the incident — which would normally be below Clinton’s level as secretary of State — “took some people aback,” she added.

When Republicans are mad that transcripts of the hearings they run are being released, you know they’re accomplishing their goals.

* Super PACs — they’re not just for campaigns anymore:

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced Wednesday that he is forming a super PAC with $150 million of his own money “to help end the crippling dysfunction in Congress.”

“I am starting a Super PAC with my initial commitment of $150 million to help end the crippling dysfunction in Congress,” Icahn tweeted. In a follow-up tweet, he shared the letter he sent to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and House and Senate minority and majority leaders.

The super PAC’s first goal will be to reverse the trend of U.S. companies merging with foreign ones or relocating overseas because of high corporate taxes, Icahn said.

Who knows what improvements we’ll see in our democracy once other billionaires follow Icahn’s lead. If you share the goal of my super PAC, which seeks government funds to turn the 1970s cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian into a big-budget live-action film series helmed by Joss Whedon, feel free to donate.

* Ron Brownstein explains why Joe Biden’s decision not to run gives Hillary Clinton a big opening to assemble a coalition of minorities and working class whites that Bernie Sanders will find very tough to crack. — gs

* Heather Digby Parton explains why the analysis of our current political situation that undergirds Clinton’s suggestion that Republicans are her “enemies” is right on:

We are not dealing with normal political opponents….until the Republicans sober up and figure out how to tame the right wing monster in their own midst, Democrats will have to give up any illusions about the president and the speaker knocking back bourbons on the Truman balcony after working hours and concentrate on how to keep these obstructionist Republicans from destroying the country while working around them to bring the country forward. The presidency today is a very tough job that requires creative thinking about how to govern with an insurrectionist opposition. The old bromides about bipartisanship are no longer convincing.

Read the whole thing, as the bloggers used to say in the old days. — gs

* The Fact Checker investigates Donald Trump’s claim that not only did he oppose the Iraq War from the beginning, he was vocal in his opposition before the war started that the White House sent a “delegation” to New York to ask him to keep a lid on it. Guess what: he made it up. Four Pinocchios.

* A new Gallup poll shows 58 percent of American supporting legalization of marijuana. A majority of every age group except senior citizens believes it should be legalized.

* Last night PBS’ Frontline aired a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary about the effort to pass an immigration bill, which you can now watch on their website. It gives a great look at what it’s like to attempt a complex piece of legislation and how the different players and interests involved dance around one another, in this case to no avail.

* Amanda Marcotte says we ought to get ready for some heavy duty mansplaining at Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony tomorrow.

* But Brian Beutler predicts that House Republicans will treat Clinton very politely, in hopes of getting the press corps to overlook their Benghazi conspiracy-mongering. Something tells me it just might work. — gs

* Francis Wilkinson sees some pretty serious problems with Jeb Bush’s theory about how he can win the Republican nomination.

* Jonathan Bernstein points out that all the “conditions” that Paul Ryan demands in exchange for being Speaker can’t change the fact that a sizable bloc of House conservatives won’t support raising the debt limit or funding the government. — gs

* Jeb Bush strategist Mike Murphy tells Sasha Issenberg that everything is going according to plan. Jeb is currently averaging seven percent in primary polls.

* Michael Grunwald debunks five myths about the federal budget.

* At The Week, I considered the question of how we apportion blame and credit to the president for things that happen while he’s in office.

* And Ramesh Ponnuru tells conservatives the bad news: Hillary Clinton is going to win the White House.