White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has been taking shots at the legitimacy of Speaker of the House John Boehner’s (R-OH) Select Committee On Hashtag #Benghazi since it was announced, but on Friday afternoon, gave what has been the clearest indication, so far, that the White House would be perfectly fine with Democrats in Congress passing on the chance to participate. MSNBC’s Kristen Welker asked Carney, directly, if Democrats should cooperate with the Select Committee, and Carney’s response was not subtle.
Welker began by asking Carney about the latest #Benghazi email, the real one. “(The Select Committee) comes on the heels of recently released e-mails by the white house.Why did it take so long for e-mails to come out?” Welker asked, adding “Does it not just add fuel to the critics who’s say you’re not being completely forthcoming when it comes to how the crisis in Benghazi was handled?”
Speaking from the North Lawn of the White House, Carney skipped over the question, instead blasting Republicans for trying to raise money off of the investigation. “You’re right, Kristen,” Carney said, “House Republicans in what is a blatantly political and partisan effort voted to start another investigation into this matter, presumably because the six previous investigations by Congress, by Republicans, were somehow not adequate.
He continued, “I think if you saw as others have commented, the Republicans are fund raising off of this effort,” and added that “it’s unfortunate that House Republicans continue to pursue this in a highly partisan manner, and in fact, they themselves have acknowledged how political it is. and how oriented toward trying to raise money and motivate their base for a mid-term election.”
Welker also asked Carney “Yes or no, should Democrats cooperate with the select committee?”
“We leave it to Leader Pelosi and other Democrats in the House to make decisions about how they will participate or not participate,” Carney said, then added the big but. “But I think the nature of this, and the political nature of this investigation has been pretty clear, just hearing Republicans talk about it in the last several days.”
Democrats had wanted an even split on the committee, but Speaker Boehner appointed seven Republicans today, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been kneecapped by a number of House Democrats who have made it clear they will not support a boycott of the committee.
Debate in the White House briefing room has been over whether the White House’s cooperation with the select committee would hinge on the White House’s view of the select committee’s legitimacy. Carney’s response here is a fairly strong indication of that view.